It was almost a year ago to the day that FC Bayern München embarked on an ill-fated UEFA Champions League campaign with a 3-2 home defeat against RC Deportivo La Coruña.
The Spaniards' hero that evening was Dutch striker Roy Makaay, who scored a memorable hat-trick which set Bayern on their way to an early exit from the competition. A lot has happened to Bayern since then, not least a domestic double and the signing of Makaay himself after a protracted transfer saga which finally concluded with the 28-year-old moving for a German record €18.6m.
Furthest man forward
Celtic FC arrived at Bayern's Olympiastadion last night for the commencement of both clubs' Group A campaign - with many eyes trained on Makaay as he looked to add to his tally of 12 goals in Europe's élite tournament. Bayern's No10 began the game as the furthest man forward, a role that had earned him some criticism in the German media for being too removed from the action.
Indeed, it took over 30 minutes before Makaay received the ball for the first time in Celtic territory. After linking up with full-back Willy Sagnol he steadied himself before shooting wide. Minutes later, he turned provider after tracking back into midfield to pick up a pass from Zé Roberto. From there he found Claudio Pizarro but the Peruvian shot over from outside the box.
Disappointing first half
Invariably Makaay was proving unable to stretch a well-drilled Celtic back line, which did not allow him much space and forced him to receive the ball with his back to goal - all in all, it was a disappointing first half for the home side. Just three minutes into the second half, however, he had a golden opportunity to put Bayern ahead. From Hasan Salihamidzic's corner, Thomas Linke flicked the ball on to the Dutchman who was lingering at the far post, but he got under the header and placed it over the target from point-blank range.
Bayern did not reckon on conceding a goal and were shocked when Alan Thompson dampened an otherwise impressive start to the half when he stole in at the far post to put Celtic ahead. With the pressure on Bayern's strikers rising, Makaay finally delivered on 72 minutes with a sweet volley from the edge of the box which drew the home side level.
Search for a winner
Sensing Celtic were rocking, Bayern brought Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz into the fray to join Pizarro and Makaay up front in the search for a winner. A second Makaay volley was soon blocked and he also looped a header over the bar as the chances began to flow.
Space was appearing in the Celtic rearguard and Makaay capitalised again in the 82nd minute, only to direct his free header straight at Magnus Hedman. With four minutes remaining though the forward's name again echoed around the stadium as he swung a dangerous cross from the right wing past everyone, Hedman included, and into the back of the Celtic net.
'Better every week'
An intended cross it may well have been, but the Bavarians were not complaining and neither was Makaay as he completed the transformation from villain to hero at the Olimpiastadion. "I'm feeling better every week," he said after the game. "I'm getting used to Bayern's playing style. Everybody's very happy tonight, but not as happy as I am."
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