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Hargreaves retains belief

Published: Monday 11 April 2005, 8.32CET
Owen Hargreaves says FC Bayern München "have a chance" of turning their tie with Chelsea FC. features

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Published: Monday 11 April 2005, 8.32CET

Hargreaves retains belief

Owen Hargreaves says FC Bayern München "have a chance" of turning their tie with Chelsea FC.
By Paul Saffer

Down, but far from out. That is Owen Hargreaves's verdict on FC Bayern München's chances against Chelsea FC in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

Trend bucked
Since the introduction of the Premiership, it has been rare for the top English players to play outside their native land - only Real Madrid CF seeming to have the allure to buck that trend. Hargreaves, though, has racked up 26 caps with England, but his only club experience there has been in away European ties with Bayern.

Chelsea defeat
The latest of those came on Wednesday, as despite Hargreaves' bustling performance in midfield, Bayern lost 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. And the 24-year-old, born in Canada to British parents, admits that his team face an uphill struggle in the return on Tuesday.

Long ball success
"Chelsea killed us with the long ball and got lots of flick-ons," Hargreaves said. "Their [deflected] opening goal was unlucky. Then we got back into it at 1-1 and I thought we had control. We need a couple of goals but it is also important we defend well."

Hopes dashed
Indeed, when substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger cancelled out Joe Cole's first-half strike on 52 minutes, it looked good for Bayern. But 18 minutes and two Frank Lampard goals later it was 3-1 and Didier Drogba extended Chelsea's lead before a last-gasp Michael Ballack penalty put Bayern back in the tie.

'Very disappointing'
"In the first half I felt we played quite well and were very unlucky to get that goal against us," Hargreaves said. "We kept the ball for certain periods of the time and created our own chances. In the second half we got a goal back and were getting more comfortable as the game went on. Then all of a sudden it was 4-1, the goals came out of nowhere, they were all quite similar and it was very disappointing.

Still a chance
"At that stage I don't think 4-1 reflected the actual game itself," he added. "Then we were awarded a penalty and that's given us a chance. If it had stayed at 4-1 it would have been a very difficult for us in the second leg but now it's effectively 2-0 and we have a chance."

England team-mates
Of course, as Bayern's resident Englishman, he is in a unique position to appraise the performances of his international team-mates. Not only did Cole and Lampard score but John Terry was his usual reliable self in defence.

'Great goals'
"Frank scored two great goals but from our point of view they were disappointing and could have been avoided," Hargreaves admitted. "Obviously they are wonderful players and they played well again today but I thought we matched Chelsea for most of the game."

Absent forwards
Hargreaves also has a specific warning for Terry, who did not have to deal with Bayern's usual prolific strikeforce as both Roy Makaay and Claudio Pizarro suffered injuries on the weekend before the first leg.

Missing duo
He warned: "Makaay is a great forward and Pizarro too. We obviously missed them. It will be good to have them back. We need to defend well and take our chances going forward, something we did not do at Stamford Bridge."

Previous success
A repeat of the 3-1 win at home against Chelsea's London rivals Arsenal FC in the last round would be enough for Bayern, and as a veteran of their Champions League triumph of 2001, when they won all but one of their games at the Olympiastadion, Hargreaves may know just the formula to turn this tie.

Last updated: 11/04/05 12.57CET

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