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Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 10:58 GMT


Double blow for Rangers

Thomas Strunz ends Rangers' Champions League dreams

Bayern Munich 1-0 Rangers

Rangers will set out on their Uefa Cup campaign later this month without striker Michael Mols, who suffered a serious knee injury at the Olympic Stadium.

But Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld still believes the Ibrox side have to be one of the favourites to win the competition.

Rangers have been left with a consolation prize of a place in the third round after being knocked out of the Champions League.

Hitzfeld said: "There are many high calibre teams in the Uefa Cup but Rangers are capable of winning it.

"I am very satisfied to be in the last 16 but I know we were very lucky to win this match. I am not surprised at how Rangers played. They are a team of great substance and one of the top clubs in Europe."

Collapsed in agony

Mols could be out of action until the New Year after picking up his injury in the 28th minute when he raced to the touchline with the keeper for a loose ball.

He collapsed in agony and will miss the first Old Firm game on the season on Sunday for starters.

Mols was taken to hospital for a scan on the problem and manager Dick Advocaat said: "We will know more later but it looks a bad injury. He could be out for months."

The Scottish champions dominated the match and hit the woodwork three times, but it is Bayern Munich who progress to the second phase, thanks to a less than convincing victory.

A first-half penalty from Thomas Strunz was enough to send last season's European Cup runners-up through in second place in Group F behind Valencia.

Rangers, who only needed a point to stay ahead of Bayern, must instead be content with a place in the third round of the Uefa Cup.

But they deserved so much better after an impressive team effort in a thrilling - and at times bad tempered - continental clash.

Under pressure

The Bayern defence, marshalled by 38-year-old German legend Lothar Matthaeus, was under pressure for long periods as the Rangers midfield took control.

But the home side had their moments as well and the Rangers rearguard had to be on top of the game to snuff out their attacking threat.

With so much at stake for both sides chances came at a regular rate, as the match burst into life from the first whistle.

Bayern stormed out of the blocks and could have been three goals up in the first five minutes.

Giovane Elber headed over the bar and Rangers keeper Stefan Klos saved smartly with his legs from Roque Santa Cruz.

Rangers were living dangerously and there was worse to come when Elber somehow missed from just six yards out with the goal gaping, after Bixente Lizarazu had beaten four defenders with a storming run and cross down the left.

But after weathering the early storm, Rangers began to impose themselves on the contest.

Strunz spot on

Bayern took the lead after 32 minutes. When Van Bronckhorst felled Mehmet Scholl in the box, Strunz stepped up to take the penalty - and although Klos did well to get a hand to his spot-kick, the ball crept over the line.

Rangers were desperate for a swift equaliser and Rod Wallace cracked a fine first-time shot after the Bayern defence had been carved open by an excellent move on the left flank. But Kahn instinctively thrust out an arm and superbly turned the ball onto the post.

With so much at stake, the tension of the evening began to affect the players and the match became an increasingly volatile encounter, with face-offs between a number of players.

Teams:

Bayern Munich: Kahn, Matthaus, Linke, Babbel, Strunz, Fink, Effenberg, Lizarazu, Scholl, Elber, Santa Cruz. Subs: Wessels, Andersson, Sergio, Tarnat, Jancker, Salihamidzic, Zickler.

Rangers: Klos, Porrini, Moore, Amoruso, Numan, Reyna, Ferguson, Albertz, Van Bronckhorst, Mols, Wallace. Subs: Charbonnier, Kanchelskis, Vidmar, Amato, Adamczuk, McCann, Johansson.

Referee: V Pereira (Portugal)





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