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Bayern pay price for arrogance, concedes Hitzfeld

Published: Tuesday 29 October 2002, 20.01CET
Ottmar Hitzfeld blamed arrogance for FC Bayern München's "shameful" UEFA Champions League elimination.
Published: Tuesday 29 October 2002, 20.01CET

Bayern pay price for arrogance, concedes Hitzfeld

Ottmar Hitzfeld blamed arrogance for FC Bayern München's "shameful" UEFA Champions League elimination.

FC Bayern München coach Ottmar Hitzfeld admitted his side had been punished for their arrogance after crashing out of the UEFA Champions League at the first group stage following their 2-1 defeat against Deportivo La Coruña. "Maybe in the first match we were too arrogant and we paid a tremendous price for that," he said.

Bayern shame
Defeat left Bayern with just one point from five matches and means they will not reach the knockout stages for the first time in their seven Champions League appearances. Hitzfeld, the only coach to have won the Champions League with two different clubs, added that he was ashamed by the manner of his side's elimination, which he described as one of the worst moments of his coaching career.

'Tremendous damage'
"This is a very delicate moment and an enormous disappointment because I am used to reaching the quarter-finals at least," Hitzfeld said. "But let's not dramatise the situation. Maybe the pressure was just too much for some players and they couldn't handle it. This does tremendous damage for the image of the club. It was shameful the way we were eliminated and I will have to have a close look at some of my players. The performance wasn't too bad, but we couldn't impose ourselves on the other side."

Makaay the difference
Deportivo had beaten the 2001 champions 3-2 in their opening Group G game at the Olympiastadion and the hat-trick hero that night, Roy Makaay, was on target again in Spain to clinch Depor's victory in the final minute. Roque Santa Cruz had earlier cancelled out Víctor Sánchez’s strike nine minutes after the restart.

Honour at stake
Deportivo are second in Group G and face leaders AC Milan on Matchday Six knowing victory would take them through. Qualification would be assured for the Spanish side regardless of the result in Milan should Bayern beat RC Lens, a match that has taken on huge significance for Hitzfeld. "I'm going to field a strong eleven," he said. "It's a question of prestige and honour and we want to end in an honourable way."

'Depor make history'
Meanwhile Deportivo coach Javier Irureta was delighted with his side's performance. "This was a match for those who wanted to make history," he said. "Just having them [Bayern] here is special but beating them is huge for us. It was a great day for the club. Depor were superior and we have to go on like this.

'Great chance'
"Bayern are a great side and it was their last chance so they had to fight hard," Irureta added. "The game was balanced in the first half. After the first goal they started to attack but we handled the situation and we have a great chance of qualifying."

San Siro surprise
To that end Irureta will be hoping Bayern do his side a favour on Matchday Six against Lens. "Bayern are a great team and they can't afford to say goodbye without a victory," he said. Depor, though, he insisted, will not depend on Bayern to get through. "We will go to Milan looking to win," he said.

Last updated: 30/03/04 13.50CET

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