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Thursday, April 29, 2010

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Lyon tamers: Bayern's Thomas Mueller rushes to congratulate goalscorer Ivica Olic on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Olic treble sends Bayern to Champions League final

LYON, France (AP) Bayern Munich brushed aside Lyon 3-0 on Tuesday to advance to its first Champions League final in nine years.

Ivica Olic continued his stunning form with a clinical hat trick for five goals in his last four European outings.

Bayern, leading the Bundesliga on goal difference, will go for its fifth European Cup against either Barcelona or Inter Milan in the May 22 final. Barcelona was scheduled to host Inter on Wednesday, with Inter leading 3-1.

"We played very well tonight, we were very organized both in defense and in attack and if we carry on playing like this we will be very hard to beat," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said.

"I am happy and so are the players. (Olic) had a fantastic game, he scored three goals and worked very hard all game. But he was the player closest to goal, so it's normal."

Van Gaal would relish playing Pep Guardiola's Barcelona in the final.

"On my first day in charge (of Bayern), I said Barcelona is the best team in the world and the example (to follow). Nine times out of 10, Barca would win, but we could win one game," Van Gaal said. "I would prefer to play Inter, that way I could have a press conference with my friend Jose Mourinho."

Having lost the first leg 1-0, Lyon started nervously and Bayern should already have scored before Thomas Mueller set up Olic in the 26th minute. The Croatia striker pounced again in the 67th and 78th.

"You have to congratulate this team, they were better in several areas," Lyon coach Claude Puel said. "Their physical impact was impressive and their rhythm never dropped off. We had to play a perfect match and that wasn't the case."

Lyon captain Cris was sent off in the second half, leaving the humbled home side to finish with 10 men.

"We tried to play high up the field and pressure their defense, but we hurried things too much when we had possession, we were wasteful with our final ball," Puel said. "The scoreline is a shame, it is a heavy defeat that has much to do with Cris' sending off."

The 30-year-old Olic has been a revelation in this season's competition, scoring in injury time to give Bayern a 2-1 home win against Manchester United in the first leg of the quarterfinals, and then grabbing a crucial goal just before halftime at Old Trafford just as United was cruising into the semifinals at 3-0 up.

Lyon's nerves cracked as it desperately sought a way to get back in the game, and Cris let his teammates down with the way he was sent off.

"Lyon did not play too well in Munich," Van Gaal said. "The way we closed them down in Munich was too much for them, and it was the same again today."

Having been shown a yellow card for a foul on Olic, he sarcastically applauded Swiss referee Massimo Busacca's decision and was then shown another yellow.

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