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FC Bayern München captain Oliver Kahn offered high praise to AC Milan after the Rossoneri ended his side's hopes of a place in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with a 2-0 victory in Germany.
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Suspended for the 2-2 first-leg draw at San Siro last week, Kahn was back between the posts at the Fußball Arena München but it was to prove an unhappy return. Having weathered some early pressure, Milan struck twice in four minutes through Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi midway through the first half and there was no way back for Bayern. "Milan are the best team in Europe," Kahn reflected. "They are solid in defence, very fast, very professional and play at the highest technical level. They must be favourites to win the competition."
The Italian team must find a way past Manchester United FC in the last four before entertaining thoughts of the final in Athens, and Kahn believes it will not be too long before Bayern find themselves in a similar position. "We have a good young team with players like Philipp Lahm, Andreas Ottl, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Christian Lell," said the 37-year-old, who has made 103 UEFA Champions League appearances - a shade under twice as many as that quartet combined. "They are the future and in four or five years Bayern could be a real force."
By then, of course, Kahn is likely to have brought the curtain down on his glittering career, and he was left to dream of what might have been as team-mates departed behind him, heads bowed. "In a way, it might have been better if we had lost the first leg, as we did against Real Madrid [CF in the last 16]," he mused. "If that had happened then we would have played with a bit more intensity, showed more aggression from the kick-off. We might have had a chance." Sadly for Bayern and Kahn, once Milan had rattled them with those quick-fire goals, they stood none.
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