Buoyant Bayern look to finish off Inter

MUNICH, Germany, March 14, 2011 (AFP) - German giants Bayern Munich will carry a slender advantage into the home leg of their Champions League last 16 tie with holders Inter Milan on Tuesday.

A 90th-minute goal from Bayern striker Mario Gomez secured a 1-0 win in the first leg of the round of 16 clash a fortnight ago in Milan, in a tie that is a repeat of last season's final in Madrid.

Bayern slumped after their Italian success, losing three games in a row, but Saturday's 6-0 hammering of Hamburg in the Bundesliga gave a much needed boost to flagging confidence.

Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben reacts during the match between FC Bayern Munich and Hamburg SV in Munich on March 12, 2011. Munich won the match 6-0. AFP

Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who missed the first half of the season through injury, notched a hat-trick and was ably assisted by France winger Franck Ribery, who scored one goal and created another.

"The goals set us free mentally," said coach Louis van Gaal after his side ran riot against Hamburg.

"I’m delighted we put on a show. That showed how well we’re capable of playing, and it was a very good way to prepare for Inter."

Last Monday, van Gaal was told by chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge that his contract will be terminated at the end of the season, a year early, as Bayern's bosses reacted to their team's dismissal performances.

The Bavarians are also out of both the German Cup and the title race, having been beaten 3-1 at home by runaway league leaders Borussia Dortmund recently.

Bayern have a perfect home record in this season's Champions League, however, as Roma, FC Basel and Romanian side CFR Cluj have all been beaten in Munich during the campaign.

The Italians warmed up for their trip to Bavaria with a bad-tempered 1-1 draw at second-from-bottom Brescia on Friday night.

Goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved a last-minute penalty to rescue a point for 10-man Inter.

Samuel Eto'o scored his 31st goal of the season to give the champions a first-half lead before Andrea Caracciolo equalised six minutes from time.

Inter substitute Ivan Cordoba was then sent off for bringing down Eder in the box, only for Cesar to save Caracciolo's spot-kick.

In a bizarre finish to the game, Caracciolo then also received his marching orders for a second yellow card.

"We should have killed the game off before their goal," said Inter's Brazilian coach Leonardo.

"Sometimes you need to know when to accept a draw; there are still plenty of games left and lots of things will happen before the end.

"The team are playing well and we will carry that with us to Munich."

Inter's Brazilian defender Lucio could miss the game against his former club after being diagnosed with a muscle strain, but he was named in the squad for the match at the Allianz Arena.

Argentine striker Diego Milito, who scored both goals when Inter beat Bayern 2-0 in last season's final, remains sidelined with a thigh complaint.

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