Arjen Robben continued his recent hot streak with a 25-metre drive that earned FC Bayern München a 1-0 advantage in their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie with Olympique Lyonnais, but he was first to cool any premature celebrations.
"Nothing is decided yet," said the Dutch international, who has now scored nine goals in as many games. "Perhaps we have a slight advantage but we have a difficult match ahead in Lyon."
The German side will head to the Stade de Gerland next Tuesday without Franck Ribéry, who was dismissed eight minutes before half-time, and Robben admitted the outlook was bleak at that stage.
"It was difficult when it was ten against 11 – we all had to give 20% more. But once Lyon had a man sent off [Jérémy Toulalan after picking up two yellow cards at the start of the second period] we played very well."
Robben's 69th-minute effort, which deflected off team-mate Thomas Müller's head, ensured that performance was reflected in the scoreline. And Bayern exited the pitch to similar jubilant scenes to those that had greeted their arrival, if less choreographed.
"The pre-match routine was great – it was great fun," said Müller. "
Looking at the game, we could easily have won by a bigger margin, but if you'd offered us 1-0 beforehand, we'd all have taken it."
On his own, inadvertent intervention with Robben's goal, Müller prayed thanks to a "missed appointment at the hairdressers", before returning to the serious matter at hand.
"The final is only one game away now," said the 20-year-old, still in his first full season as a professional. "We'll have to see how things go in Lyon but I think we're well set and I'm very optimistic."
Indeed, things are coming together at just the right time for Louis van Gaal's charges, who consolidated their position at the top of the Bundesliga with a 7-0 victory against Hannover 96 on Saturday. Robben hit a hat-trick, though for striker Mario Gómez the growing defensive strength is just as important.
"We have to be pleased with the win," said the 24-year-old, a second-half substitute. "
We kept a clean sheet and now we have a great chance of reaching the final. We restricted Lyon to a few chances; I think they had one long shot and that was it."
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