Daniel Van Buyten was in typically sanguine mood after Patrick Vieira's late strike denied FC Bayern München victory against FC Internazionale Milano in their final group stage game. Content to have topped the section, he warned Bayern must improve if they are to go all the way in the UEFA Champions League.
Vieira struck in the first minute of added time to deny Bayern the win they appeared on course for following Roy Makaay's 62nd-minute opener. The home side had dominated before and went on to do so after, but not for the first time this season they failed to make their superiority count and eventually paid for it. The price was not too high as Felix Magath's side held on to the first place in the section that their coach had so dearly coveted, yet Van Buyten warned a repeat in the last 16 could prove far costlier.
"For 90 minutes we played well defensively but then lapsed late on - we weren't quick enough to play the offside trap," said the 28-year-old. "In the knockout rounds we'll be up against Europe's top teams and such mistakes could cost us dearly." Such slips, added to an inability to kill games off, have been unwelcome features of a mixed start to the season by Bayern. With just two games until the winter break, they have already lost more games than they did in the whole of last term, and are languishing in the unusual position of fourth place in the Bundesliga.
"It's hard to say what we're still lacking at the moment, but there's certainly something and we have to work on it if we are to progress further in the UEFA Champions League and get our Bundesliga campaign back on track," continued the former Hamburger SV centre-back who, along with Willy Sagnol and Oliver Kahn, has been ever present for Bayern in Europe this season. The trio have been the principal pillars of a miserly back line that conceded just three goals in their six Group B fixtures, and, while being aware of the team's faults, Van Buyten is also happy to concentrate on the positives, saying: "Obviously, it would have been nice to win today, but overall we are delighted to win the group."
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