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FC Bayern München 3-1 FK Partizan (Bayern win 6-1 on aggregate)
FC Bayern München powered through to the UEFA Champions League first group stage with an easy win over FK Partizan tonight.
The 2001 winners were always going to have a comfortable evening at the Olympiastadion after a 3-0 victory in the away leg, and, despite missing midfield player Mehmet Scholl and French international Willy Sagnol, Bayern still managed to attract an impressive attendance. More than 40,000 supporters turned up after club officials said that all gate receipts would go to victims of the recent flooding in Germany.
Ballack in form
Michael Ballack, who reached last year's final with runners-up Bayer 04 Leverkusen, was in tremendous form and opened the scoring in the 26th minute. The Germany midfield player stroked a shot into the top left-hand corner after a mazy dribble from full-back Bixente Lizarazu.
The game then fizzled out as a contest and it took until the second half for Bayern, who were forced to qualify for the group stage after finishing third in the 1. Bundesliga last season, to regain their momentum. Three goals followed in three second-half minutes to give the crowd some excitement.
Brazilian striker Giovane Elber lobbed goalkeeper Radovan Radakovic, following good work from Ballack, after 71 minutes to extend Bayern's lead. A minute later though, substitute Damir Kacar left Owen Hargreaves, who otherwise had an excellent game, trailing in his wake before slotting the ball under on-rushing keeper Oliver Kahn to pull one back.
Then Branco Savic brought down Elber in the area and Hasan Salihamidzic made no mistake from the spot to complete the scoring, although consolation for a courageous Partizan side will come in the form of a UEFA Cup first round place
'An important game'
After the game, Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said: "The team knew that this is an important game. Partizan had already suggested how dangerous they could be, and once they take the lead they explode and we would have had to worry. That was what we wanted to prevent."
'We showed our determination'
He added: "We were very focused, because we really wanted to qualify for the UEFA Champions League again. Our goal is to again reach the quarter-final this season. My team proved that we can play as a unit and as a collective and we showed our determination."
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