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After helping FC Bayern München come from behind to overwhelm Juventus 4-1 at the Stadio Olimpico, Ivica Olić paid tribute to his team-mates for producing their "match of the season" to reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
'Match of the year'
Olić played a significant part in his side's success, drawing the foul which led to the equalising penalty, putting Bayern 2-1 up and proving a continual threat to a Juve defence that struggled to contain the lively striker. "I am absolutely delighted that we won tonight," he said. "We knew we needed to produce the match of the year and fortunately that's exactly what we did. Everyone played really well."
Louis van Gaal's side knew that only a win would suffice to keep them in the competition, so their task was made all the more difficult when David Trezeguet fired his side ahead on 19 minutes with a well-taken volley. It was the hosts' first chance of the match, but Bayern refused to fold and drew level when Olić, who had hit the post in the fifth minute, was brought down by Martín Cácares. Visiting goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt dispatched the spot-kick and Bayern never looked back, Olić grabbing the all-important second on 52 minutes before Mario Gómez and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk made sure of the points – and progress.
"Although we went behind we never lost heart," continued Olić, who has scored three league goals since signing from Hamburger SV on a free transfer in the summer. "We knew that Juve were struggling a bit even though they went 1-0 up because we kept creating chances and playing good football. I had chances early on, hit the post and came close once or twice more but the penalty was clear. We responded really well, went from strength-to-strength and scored a second goal. Towards the end we were a bit lucky with one of the goals but were worthy winners overall."
The 30-year-old Olić, who has been capped 68 times by Croatia, is now hoping Bayern can stretch their eight-match unbeaten Bundesliga run to ten before the winter break. "It was a crucial win for us tonight – the match of the season – but now we need to maintain the same standard for the two remaining Bundesliga matches before the winter break. As for which side we play next in this competition, we are second in the group so we could end up playing a very good team in the next round. I just hope it's anyone but Barcelona."
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