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Bayern Munich eliminates Man United on away-goals rule

Dutch winger Arjen Robben scored a spectacular volley in the second half, and Bayern Munich advanced over Manchester United into the European Champions League semifinals.

Despite a 3-2 loss (and 4-4 aggregate score) Wednesday, Bayern Munich advanced because of a 2-1 advantage in away goals. Bayern becomes the first German team to reach the semifinals since 2002 and will play Lyon who advanced past Bordeaux 3-2 on aggregate.

Manchester United had taken what seemed an impregnable 3-0 lead with a dominant opening spell, but Bayern scored just before halftime through Ivica Olic. The Bavarians' comeback gained even more momentum early in the second half when Manchester United was reduced to 10 men with Rafael's sending-off.

You can rehash the game with the play-by-play analysis below:

Another fun night in with everyone's favorite family board game, Guess Who's Fit.

Is he an icon for Male Pattern Baldness? Yes. Really? Well in that case yes, Arjen Robben is fit.

Does he look like Ted Cassidy's Addams Family understudy? Yes. Ah, looks like John O'Shea will be available after all.

Does he ... look susceptible to peroxide poisoning? Yes, yes he does. That'll be Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is also fit to start in Bayern's midfield.

Does he have a light gingery fuzz aboard his jaw? Yes. You're not going to believe this, but yes. Wayne Rooney is in United's starting lineup. Honestly.

So it's a good job that Bayern coach Louis van Gaal is prepared. "I'd like to say that we did win a game with Rooney playing; it's not as if we can't win when Wayne Rooney is playing," he harrumphed today -- but this is the best bit: "We don't even need to win, a draw is fine." Miaow.

Manchester United: Edwin van der Sar, Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Darron Gibson, AntonioValencia, Nani, Wayne Rooney*. Subs: Tomasz Kuszczak, John O'Shea, Johnny Evans, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov, Federico Macheda.

*Reports that Fabio Capello has been spotted weeping unashamedly into a United insignia hanky remain unconfirmed.

Bayern Munich: Hans Joerg Butt, Philipp Lahm, Daniel van Buyten, Martin Demichelis, Holger Badstuber, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mark van Bommel, Franck Ribery, Ivica Olic, Thomas Mueller. Subs: Michael Rensing, Anatoliy Tymoschuk, Hamit Altintop, Danijel Pranjic, Miroslav Klose, Diego Contento, Mario Gomez.

"What are your thoughts about United's midfield?" wonders Tim Maxwell. "Seems to me that something is lacking. Although talented players all, they don't quite measure up to Bayern's group of Ribery, Van Bommel, etc. I think United needs to consider an upgrade. Some creativity to go along with the work rate of Carrick/Fletcher/Scholes would be nice."

Creativity and movement, I think, which is why Fergie's decision not to play Nani before the last 18 minutes against Chelsea was so odd. There were legs in that midfield that remember the 1929 Wall Street Crash. A more youthful selection today though, and of course they'll be playing with Rooney rather than Berbatov, who'll no doubt be his usual bubbly self on the bench.

"I really hope Bayern M√ľnchen wins it all," says Yoothana Mumme, quite possibly cackling madly. "And to go through Manchester United would be even better. The worst loss I have witnessed was the loss to United in the '99 CL final. Oh, how sweet it would be for Bayern to win tonight. Die Bayern kommen, die Bayern kommen!"

"I hope Nani, Valencia, Macheda, Evra, and Giggs will give their best performance to destroy the Bayern midfield," trumpets Ludwig, taking a slightly different view. "If we can beat them 2-1 or 1-0 we will be happy." Either way, I'm going for a tight result.

Fergie mischief update: big grin while insisting that he wasn't fibbing yesterday, when he said Rooney had no chance.

Kickoff: United, in red, get the match underway. Woot woot!

2': United have had most of the ball in the first couple of minutes, but nothing jaw-dropping to report so far. I can confirm Rooney is still on his feet.

3': GOAL! Man United 1-0 Bayern Darron Gibson has scored! Combined with Rooney through the middle and smashed it past Butt. Jaw duly dropped. Butt was wrong-footed by Gibson's shot -- I'm not sure he expected him to let one fly as two defenders closed in.

5': More defending for Bayern, but they've succeeded in keeping the ball out of the net for a couple of minutes.

6': GOAL! Man United 2-0 Bayern. Nani has just flicked the ball in off the inside of his heel from five yards out! Well, chuck my tight game prediction out of the window, this could be another Roma 7-1 job the way United have started.

8': "Is it just me, or does Rio Ferdinand's kit get smaller and smaller every match?" ponders Ben Sicnolf, easily distracted from the action. Evra upends Robben, meanwhile, to halt the first Bayern move forward.

10': Nani's goal looked a lot like Joe Cole's did on Saturday, but is possibly more impressive -- the ball came from further away at greater pace.

12': Oof. Carrick collects a really poor clearance from Butt and tries one with his left, but it pootled wide as the Bayern keeper scampered back into his goal.

15': "Manchester really came to play today," says Adan Hernandez, who sounds as flabbergasted as the rest of us. "I think Rooney will get two of his own as well." They're doubling up on Rooney, so it might be up to others to do the shooting ...

17': I finally have time to take a sip or two, and my kickoff cup of tea's gone cold. Rooney heads a Gibson corner looping up over the bar.

18': No whistle for Van Bommel catching Rafael with an ankle clip, but there's a card for the baby-faced United full back when he immediately hoiks Van Bommel to the ground as payback.

21': "This does beg the question why United didn't start with this intensity against Chelsea," says Twitterer Luke, twirling an imaginary goatee beard. Giggs and Scholes can no longer move that fast, is why, but their selection on Saturday continues to -- uh-oh, Rooney's limping.

22': Rooney's now stopped, despite frantic chanting of his name from the stands, and started doing that skipping thing that means "Ouch. I need to come off."

24': "We're certainly in for a great football match this afternoon" says yesterday's favorite, Mr Handsome, "but I seriously doubt we're in for a Bayern crash. They will rebound!" They'll need to drastically improve their ball retention if so.

26': Berbatov and Macheda are warming up, but Rooney's started to move a bit more freely. First spell of possession for Bayern, but United are really pressing, so Schweinsteiger is forced to shoot from distance, without luck.

28': Fletcher almost sneaks a ball through to Rooney as United break at pace, prompting me and half of Old Trafford to suck at our front teeth like 300-pound tradesmen. Valencia raises pulses with a run in from the right, but he's easily halted.

30': Carrick's being asked what day it is after clashing heads with Schweinsteiger.

33': Gibson unleashes a shot from 25 yards, but Butt watched it all the way over the bar. Robben answers with a delightful ball teased into the box, but Schweinsteiger can't get on the end of it.

34': Rafael has just run the length of the pitch before shooting, only to watch the ball fizz just past the far post. Rooney's outraged at not receiving the ball, but you can't blame Rafael for a rush of blood to the head.

37': Van Buyten's just clattered into Rooney's 'bad' leg, but he seems to be okay. Old Trafford treats van Buyten to some pantomime boos just in case.

39': Olic should have scored for Bayern! Wonderful, flowing move forward and Mueller plays Olic in with only van der Sar to beat. The United keeper makes the save, but takes the full force of Olic's fall in the process.

41': GOAL! Man United 3-0 Bayern. Nani's only gone and scored again! Just when you thought Bayern might get themselves back into this, Valencia screams in from the right and plays the ball across goal to where Nani's lurking. He lamps the ball into the top of the net to make it 3-0.

43': GOAL! Man United 3-1 Bayern. Olic does score this time -- from a much more difficult angle! Carrick's attempts to keep Olic at bay end, falls with the Englishman on his backside, and Olic strokes the ball in from tight on the left. I believe the correct phrase is: "Das ist Prima!"

45': Bayern players are not wearing the weary faces of a team that thinks it's beaten -- Robben's just forced a fingertip save from van der Sar having cut in virtually unhindered from the right.

45+2': Good spell for Bayern, but Schweinsteiger is livid to see it end with a loose pass from Lahm, especially since it hands the initiative to United. The halftime whistle blows with the game see-sawing in the balance. Now, where's my cup of tea?

Halftime addendum: while I'm letting my Assam steep, e-mail me your thoughts on what we can expect from the rest of this evening. Let's see how outrageously wrong we can be.

46': So, the second half is underway, and Bayern have held onto the ball since kicking us off.

50': Rafael's been sent off! A second yellow card for holding onto Ribery's arm as he stormed towards goal. Curiouser and curiouser ...

52': Well that puts a different spin on things, doesn't it? Rafael had been having a decent game, and now they'll have to wheel Gary Neville out.

53': Schweinsteiger should have had a free kick not far outside the penalty area, but the referee waves play on. Badstuber finds himself in the book moments later, however, thanks for some Grade A Agony Writhing from Valencia.

55': Rooney comes off, and John O'Shea is bounds on like an Andrex puppy. Fletcher and Nani have both gone reasonably close in the last couple of minutes.

58': "Bayern may well score again," reckons Tim Maxwell, "especially if United insists on pressing forward, leaving loads of room for Ribery/Robben. But I can't see Bayern keeping United off the score sheet. 4-2." Ribery's just bruised Van der Sar's midriff with a fierce left footer from the edge of the box.

61': Good pressure from Bayern, who are playing like the ref's told them there's only five minutes left.

64': Another oof moment from Nani, who raced onto a lofted ball from Evra and away from the Bayern defense. Butt palms the shot away for a corner, which comes to nothing except another corner. The second one is blasted into the stands by Carrick.

65': I can't be alone in thinking that Ferguson has signed Nani and Valencia to start his very own Jackson Five tribute band. Can I?

67': Gomes glances a header just over the bar. United are doing a lot of defending, unsurprisingly.

70': "What is Fergie doing?" shrieks Sean. "How is United going to score without any sort of striker? Madness! As a Chelsea fan I don't mind but what's he thinking? They can't stop Bayern for 30 minutes!" Being English, and having seen how much ice has been strapped to Rooney's ankle, I'm glad to see him come off, but you're right, United will do well to hold Bayern off for another 20 minutes.

72': United take an increasingly rare jaunt into the Bayern half, but Gibson attempts to sidefoot the ball beyond Butt from about 20 yards and fails.

73': GOAL! Man United 3-2 Bayern. Robben's scored the crucial goal for Bayern! He earned a corner from his first attempt, which Ribery arrows straight to him on the edge of the box. When he hits it on the volley, there's only one place it's going.

75': "Probably the best Champions League goal since Essien's volley last year, right?" says Ben Sicnolf. "What a blast." It's a glorious volley alright -- and his last touch of the ball; Altintop's just replaced Robben for the last 15 minutes.

78': Unless Robben's tired, which he may well have been, that seems a slightly odd substitution -- especially since Evra looks ready for the knackers yard.

80': "Why am I getting an uneasy feeling like Barcelona '99?" quivers Steve Eisenberg. If it makes you feel any better, Berbatov has come on for Carrick. Giggs has replaced Gibson, mind you ...

82': I am alone, it seems -- Guy Sodano has United's wingers touring as Milli Vanilli. Still, at least they could just reuse the original tracks.

84': Olic is replaced by Pranjic as Bayern shore up for the last five minutes. "Oh joy, we'll get to hear Fergie complain about referees again," winks Sean Rowan. "Would you say the second yellow was deserved?" Rafael definitely held Ribery, but the swarming Bayern players waving pinched fingers in the referee's face probably didn't help.

87': Bayern are sensibly holding onto the ball. "This game is far from over," announces Jeff Price, who's so desperate to get his name into this play-by-play he's making outlandish predictions like this: "Berbatov is going to pop one in there. Mark it down."

89': Nani flashes a shot well wide from distance. It looks like there won't be an English club left in the Champions League this season, which will no doubt delight Michel Platini. But what now for United?

90': Three minutes of added time, folks.

91': Bayern fans are in good voice as the match draws to a close, though it sounds for all the world like they're singing Cockney favourite 'Roll out the barrel' ...

FINAL: Man United 3-2 Bayern. Bayern advance on the away goals rule 4-4 on aggregate.

The final whistle blows, und, meine damen und herren, es ist fertig. United are out of the Champions League, and Bayern will face Lyon in the semifinals.

Thanks for your company once again. Until next time...

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