Giovane Elber hailed the FC Bayern München fans after scoring the winning goal against his former team.
By Marcus Christenson in Munich
Giovane Elber hailed the FC Bayern München fans after his goal gave Olympique Lyonnais a 2-1 win against his former team.
It was an emotional return to the Olympiastadion for Elber, who played for Bayern for six years between 1997 and 2003. The crowd responded magnificently, giving him two standing ovations - one before the game and then when he was substituted in the 79th minute despite the fact that he had scored the decisive goal.
Elber admitted he was left with mixed feelings: "The fans were great tonight and I have a lot of respect for them. The reception I got was unbelievable. It was very strange because although we won and I scored the winning goal, I can't seem to properly enjoy the victory. But maybe I will be able to enjoy it more in a few days because it was an important win."
Elber was sold to Lyon in the summer after the arrival of Dutch striker Roy Makaay at Bayern. When the sides met two weeks ago, Elber narrowly failed to win the game for his new club as Oliver Kahn produced a great save to thwart him in the dying seconds to leave the score at 1-1. This time, however, not even Kahn could deny the Brazilian as he converted a Florent Malouda cross after 53 minutes.
Elber, who played as a lone striker with Malouda supporting him on the left and Mickaël Essien on the right, knew that he would not get too many opportunities. "When you are playing against Bayern at the Olympiastadion you know you are only going to get one or two chances and thankfully I was supplied with a great pass. It was a terrific feeling and strange at the same time."
Le Guen joy
Lyon coach Paul Le Guen was very pleased with the way his team had played. "This was by far our best performance of the season and far better than in the game two weeks ago. I am pleased for Giovane too because it was a good goal and it meant a lot for the team," he said.
The win puts Lyon in charge of Group A on seven points after four games, one ahead of Celtic FC and two ahead of Bayern. "I am not surprised that we won here today because I knew we had the potential. This win puts us in a very good position," Le Guen added.
Bayern looked disjointed, apart from a brief spell in the first half when they nearly took the lead through a Claudio Pizarro header which Anthony Réveillère cleared off the line. The home side found it difficult to create chances as Lyon's backline and the two holding midfielders, Juninho Pernambucano and Mahmadou Diarra provided superb cover for Grégory Coupet in goal.
Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld admitted he was baffled by his side’s lack of organisation and drive. He said: "I am not sure why we seemed a bit nervous and why we didn't manage to put our crosses into the box. Now we have to look forward and the most important thing is that the team believes in itself."
Hitzfeld added that he did not regret the decision to let Elber go in the summer, despite the Brazilian's goal. He said: "No, we made a decision and that was to bring in Roy Makaay and let Elber go and that is what we did. Makaay also scored today and scored twice over the two legs and that is the way it is."