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Bayern Munich eyes semifinal after beating Juventus

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Associated Press
4/2/2013 5:41:16 PM
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MUNICH, Germany -- Bayern Munich ended Juventus' unbeaten record in the Champions League this season with a 2-0 win Tuesday in the first leg of their quarterfinal, stunning the Italian team with a goal in the first minute and then dominating much of the match.

David Alaba got the home side off to a perfect start when his speculative effort from outside the penalty area took a deflection off Arturo Vidal before swerving inside the right post, just 25 seconds into the game.

With Bayern continuing to create a slew of chances, Thomas Mueller deservedly made it 2-0 with a simple tap-in in the 63rd. Mario Mandzukic squared the ball back to Mueller after Gianluigi Buffon -- who hadn't conceded in his previous five games -- saved his first effort.

"It was a good game from us but we're not through (to the semifinal) yet," Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said. "Juventus are a top team and next week we'll have to deliver the same performance as tonight."

Mueller came close to scoring another in the last minute, but could only deflect the rebound over from close range after Buffon saved his first effort.

"Maybe we could have scored another, but I think 2-0 against Juventus in a quarterfinal is a good result," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said. "It's never easy against Italian teams."

Juventus had been unbeaten in 18 games in UEFA club competitions, including qualifying.

Bayern, which lost in last year's final in its home stadium, took a giant step toward a second successive semifinal going into the second leg in Turin next Wednesday. It did receive a blow, however, when Toni Kroos tore adductor muscles in his thigh in the first half, likely ruling the playmaker out for the rest of the season.

"It's very bitter, because the decisive games are coming up in the next weeks. I don't want to say he's out of it, but he'll be out for a while," Heynckes said. "It's a shame for a young player who has been showing his class, and for us all."

Kroos limped off in the 14th minute and was replaced by Arjen Robben two minutes later.

Buffon didn't stand a chance on the opening goal, as Alaba's shot hit Vidal's outstretched foot to change direction, and then curled inside the post. UEFA said it was the seventh fastest goal ever scored in the Champions League, with Bayern also holding the record for the fastest when Roy Makaay netted after just 10 seconds against Real Madrid in 2007.

The visitors had responded to the early goal with a period of concerted pressure, and went close in the 12th when Andrea Pirlo hit the roof of the net from a free kick, before Vidal sent a searing shot just wide.

It was almost all Bayern after Robben's introduction, however.

Buffon prevented the Dutchman scoring two minutes later, Franck Ribery forced a corner and Dante went close soon after, as the visitors failed to deal with repeated attacks down the wings.

Robben hit the side netting in the 32nd after Mueller beat two defenders on the right to set him up.

Bayern continued to create chances at will, and Alaba flashed the ball across the unguarded shortly afterward.

In the first half alone, Bayern had 10 attempts on goal compared to three for the visitors, who could only punt the ball forward in hope rather than with any conviction. Pirlo, in particular, struggled as the Italy great failed to exert his usual influence on the game.

"We tried to take Pirlo out of the game and you can say it worked," Heynckes said.

Juventus almost claimed an unlikely equalizer before the break, when Alessandro Matri headed Pirlo's corner onto the roof of net.

Normal service resumed after the interval when Buffon saved from Mandzukic. His next save from the Croatia striker proved costly, however, with the rebound falling kindly for the home side and Mandzukic setting up Mueller for a second goal that could prove to be decisive.

"I think today, you simply have to pay (Bayern) a compliment," said Juventus coach Antonio Conte. "We are obliged to think about what we can do in the next seven to eight days to see how we can turn it around."

Juventus has won all five European quarterfinals it played against German opponents, but Conte did not hold out much hope of making the semifinal.

"Bayern Munich are a superpower, that's why they deserve to be among the favourites, with Real Madrid and Barcelona perhaps," Conte said. "Maybe we need more time. We have to go bit by bit, to develop ourselves further."

David Alaba  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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