After defeating some of Europe's leading sides to reach the UEFA Cup final, FC Zenit St. Petersburg coach Dick Advocaat said his team "deserve" to go on and win the competition. Meanwhile, his FC Bayern München counterpart Ottmar Hitzfeld – who had just seen his side bow out of the competition, beaten 4-0 by the Russian champions – offered congratulations to Zenit, whom he made firm favourites for the title.
Dick Advocaat, Zenit coach
It took a lot of energy, but all credit to the team. They played well right from the start even though we were up against one of the best sides in Europe. We were very sharp and we managed to give Bayern almost no space at all. Our opponents became frustrated, while we were able to take our chances. It's a pity Pavel Pogrebnyak will miss the final because of suspension, but I could not afford to substitute him even when the score was 2-0 in our favour. You saw Getafe score two goals in three minutes against Bayern in the last round – in football anything is possible.
We fulfilled our game plan. We had a very packed midfield with Konstantin Zyrianov, Anatoliy Tymoschuk and Igor Denisov playing well in the centre. We played good football, while Bayern only hoped for long balls and free-kicks – football-wise, I would say we were the better team today. Of course, Bayern are still a great side with lots of potential and this makes our victory even better. At the moment, we still can't be compared with the top European teams, like Chelsea for example. But we are definitely moving in the right direction. We have great potential and hopefully a bright future. After winning against Villarreal, Olympique de Marseille, and now Bayern, I think we deserve to win the final as well.
Ottmar Hitzfeld, Bayern coach
I have to give a big compliment to this Zenit team, who played great football and fully deserved to make it to the final. We had our chances, though. Miroslav Klose had a golden opportunity in the second minute but didn't take it. Then, when we were 1-0 down, Luca Toni missed a sitter, Zenit doubled their lead and that made our task very difficult. I tried to reinforce our attack with Lukas Podolski and we created another very good chance, but Toni missed again unfortunately. Our wastefulness cost us as Zenit scored the third goal which settled the tie. We didn't show our best form while many of their players probably had the game of their lives.
There is not much difference between losing 4-0 and losing 1-0. In football you have to know how to accept defeats – we've already won the German Cup and will most likely finish top of the Bundesliga. Maybe the Zenit boys wanted to win a little bit more than us. Last week in Munich we tried to score the second goal, as we understood how difficult it would be in St Petersburg. Unfortunately, we didn't succeed, neither then, nor today. We wish Zenit the best of luck in Manchester. No matter who their opponents are in the final, they are going to be favourites. Any club who win 4-0 against Bayern have to be favourites.
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