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Bold Hargreaves backs Bayern

Published: Wednesday 13 September 2006, 13.26CET
Owen Hargreaves says FC Bayern München "can definitely win the group" after opening their Group B campaign with a 4-0 win against FC Spartak Moskva.
by John Atkin
from Fußball Arena München features

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Published: Wednesday 13 September 2006, 13.26CET

Bold Hargreaves backs Bayern

Owen Hargreaves says FC Bayern München "can definitely win the group" after opening their Group B campaign with a 4-0 win against FC Spartak Moskva.

Owen Hargreaves warned there is more to come after FC Bayern München recovered from an abject first-half performance to overpower FC Spartak Moskva 4-0 in UEFA Champions League Group B on Tuesday.

When the teams were announced at the Fußball Arena München, the new-look strike partnership of in-form Lukas Podolski and Claudio Pizarro attracted a lot of excitement among the Bayern supporters but it was the midfield that shone on the night. Usually a forward, Roque Santa Cruz dropped back on to the right wing while Bastian Schweinsteiger patrolled the left, with Hargreaves and Mark van Bommel adding steel in the middle.

Midfield mettle
The wide men both ended with goals, as did 70th-minute substitute Hasan Salihamidžić, but it was the performance of Hargreaves and Van Bommel that helped swing the match in the Bavarian side's favour. "The first half was difficult and we never really found our rhythm," said England midfielder Hargreaves. "We showed more discipline in the second half, keeping our shape. We held on to the ball and created chances - it was comfortable in the end."

Nervous opening
It looked anything but comfortable before the interval as the Russian visitors threatened to come away from Matchday 1 with a shock win, although Pizarro's goal two minutes after the restart settled nerves. Van Bommel then teed up the second for Santa Cruz and Hargreaves believes it gave a glimpse of what is to come. "We've actually had a good start to the season, we just need to find our form and our rhythm in the coming weeks," he said. "We've hardly trained together recently.

'Good potential'
"We'll get there, we'll find our rhythm," he added. "We've got good potential, good individuals and hopefully things will come together soon." Their next Group B opponents, FC Internazionale Milano, will hope it is not before 27 September. Hargreaves was a member of the Bayern side that beat Valencia CF to claim the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League title and he believes this team can also make an impact. "We're optimistic," he said. "We have a good team. We can definitely win the group."

Last updated: 13/09/06 14.23CET

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