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Football | Champions League

Lahm urges Bayern to improve



Captain Philipp Lahm said Bayern Munich must improve despite reaching the Uefa Champions League's knock-out phase with a 1-1 draw against ten-man Valencia on Tuesday.

"We played against ten men for a long time, but often took the wrong decisions," fumed Lahm after Valencia had defender Antonio Barragan sent off after only 33 minutes. "In the end, we were lucky to get a draw.

"It's annoying, because we could have won. We made the wrong decisions in many situations: when to change the tempo, when to dribble or when to move the ball.

"The important thing is that we are into the next round, but we have to flip the switch."

Lahm was left fuming after Bayern again failed to see off 10-man opposition having drawn 1-1 at Nuremberg in the Bundesliga last weekend, despite the hoists having a man sent off in the second-half.

"We have twice now drawn against opponents who played a lot of the game with ten men," said Lahm. "We have to improve on Saturday against Hanover in the Bundesliga."

Midfielder Sofiane Feghouli had put Valencia ahead on 77 minutes, but Bayern held their nerve as Germany midfielder Mueller netted the equaliser five minutes later.

After Lille's 2-0 win at BATE Borisov in Belarus earlier, both teams are now guaranteed passage into the knock-out phase and are level on 10 points at the top of Group F after the draw at the Mestalla.

VALENCIA JOY

With BATE third in the group on six points, neither team can now be denied a place in the last 16, with Bayern bidding to reach their third Champions League final in four years next May at Wembley.

"It was a fantastic performance from us," said Valencia's Feghouli. "Although we wanted to win for our fans, we will leave here satisfied. We still want to finish first in the group so winning our last match is vital."

The draw in Valencia means the final round of matches in a fortnight are just for pride when Bayern host BATE in Munich and Valencia are at Lille.

Bayern enjoyed 64 per cent of possession at the Mestalla, and had no fewer than 17 attempts, but Valencia, who were on the back foot for much of the second half, scored with one of just five shots on target.

Valencia captain Roberto Soldado said his side were left regretting their chances.

"We were facing a great side but we felt strong even after going a man down," he said. "We always believed in our chances. It was just a pity we didn't manage to win."

France wing Franck Ribery played more than an hour with a rib injury and admitted he had gone through the pain barrier.

"That wasn't much fun for me," he said. "The physios did all I could and I wanted to play to help the team, but it was a catastrophe for me, to be honest."

Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was also frustrated and echoed Lahm's comments. "We can be happy we have progressed, but not with the performance," he said.

"To have played for more than an hour against 10 men and still have only drawn 1-1, that is not satisfactory. We have to put in more effort and win our important upcoming games."

Bayern host Hanover 96 on Saturday, travel to Freiburg on Wednesday 28 November, then host defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund in Munich on 1 December, five days before the final Champions League match against BATE.

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