MUNICH - Bayern Munich are faced with a season-saving rescue mission to defend their Bundesliga title following Tuesday's exit from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage. With seven matches remaining, the German champions are three points behind leaders Wolfsburg and coach Jurgen Klinsmann said every game was now a final after their 1-1 home draw against Barcelona consigned Bayern to a 5-1 aggregate defeat. Klinsmann, who saw his team eliminated from the German Cup and thrashed 4-0 in Barcelona within the space of a month, knows failure to win the title could also spell the end of his coaching career at Bayern after only a season. "These seven league matches are finals for us. We have to get points, points, points," Klinsmann told reporters. "We have to get maximum points and I still believe we will win the championship." "KLINSMANN OUT" Fans booed the coach again on Tuesday, chanting former manager Ottmar Hitzfeld's name and held aloft banners with "Klinsmann raus" (Klinsmann out) written on them. "Of course such a situation is not comfortable," the coach said after the match. "But I understand that after the 4-0 in the first leg people are angry." However, it was not just the first leg defeat that has sparked the fans' anger this season. Bayern's erratic displays, including a 5-1 loss to Wolfsburg 10 days ago, their demolition by Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup and poor Bundesliga form have added to speculation that even if Klinsmann won the title he would still be axed. Club president Franz Beckenbauer, who has not been one of Klinsmann's staunchest supporters, tried to take some pressure off his coach. "I would not be angry if we did not win the Bundesliga after this year of confusion," Beckenbauer said after the match. "But we need the Champions League (qualification)." His words may well be the first indirect admission that Bayern would settle for second place and a Champions League spot to at least assure their finances are not hit as hard as their on-pitch performances. Any discussion about Klinsmann's future would come at the end of the season, Beckenbauer added.
15 April 2009
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