Munich: Ivica Olic scored twice to send Bayern Munich comfortably through to the Champions League semi-finals for the second time in three years with a 2-0 win over Marseille on Tuesday.
Bayern had a 2-0 lead from the first leg and Olic all but secured the German side's progression when he struck in the 13th minute, after former Marseille player Franck Ribery set the Croatian up for an easy tap-in. Olic then put the result beyond doubt in the 37th by making it 4-0 on aggregate.
"Four goals against Marseille, semi-final against Real. That's very good for us, for the head, for the confidence," said Ribery.
Desperate defending prevented the impressive Ribery from scoring against his former side late on. Marseille improved in the second half but had little hope of ending Bayern's dream of playing the final in their own stadium on May 19. That challenge will likely be Real Madrid's, as the Spanish side hold a 3-0 lead over APOEL Nicosia before Wednesday's second leg of their quarter-final.
"We showed authority and in the end were deserved winners, although Marseille created the first good chances," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said. "Altogether we played a very smart game."
Heynckes gave Olic a rare start in place of Mario Gomez, who was rested along with Arjen Robben as Bayern maintain their challenge for three titles this season. His counterpart, Didier Deschamps, had no such luxury and started with four forwards — Brandao, Loic Remy, Andre Ayew, and Mathieu Valbuena — to overturn Marseille's deficit from the first leg.
Ribery looked threatening from the beginning, the Frenchman teaming up brilliantly with Toni Kroos in the fifth minute before earning a free kick that David Alaba headed over. Loic Remy fired the visitors' first chance straight at Manuel Neuer in the ninth, before the Bayern goalkeeper had to get down well to keep out leftback Jeremy Morel after some good play from Benoit Cheyrou, who filled in for the suspended Alou Diarra.
Bayern scored just as Marseille began to look dangerous. Ribery glided past the French defence on the right before playing the ball across goal for Olic to slot in from close range for his first Champions League goal of the season. But the visitors reacted well and continued their positive play. Stephane Mbia tried to respond for Marseille, but his first effort sailed well over and he drew a good save from Neuer with his next.
Nicolas N'Koulou's crucial intervention then prevented Philipp Lahm from scoring on a counter-attack after the resulting corner. It set the pattern for the half, as the visitors left spaces at the back while pushing for an equalizer, leaving Bayern the more likely to score.
Marseille captain Steve Mandanda kept his side's slim hopes alive with fine saves from Toni Kroos, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and then Olic in quick succession. Kroos hit the post with a fierce drive in the 33rd as Bayern assumed total control.
Ribery was involved again when Bayern effectively sealed the tie, the Frenchman feeding David Alaba down the left, and the Austrian midfielder crossed for Olic to nip ahead of his marker and score from close range.
"Both goals were very well played," Heynckes said. "I'm happy for Olic because he not only played well, but he scored and had a huge impact on the game. He's a bonus for the rest of the season. We have hard matches ahead of us and I need players like him who can decide games."
Brazilian defender Rafinha came on for Thomas Mueller in the 38th due to an apparent hamstring injury, as Heynckes decided not to risk the Germany international picking up a suspension for the semi-final.
After the half-time break, the hosts stepped off the throttle as Marseille enjoyed more of the possession than before, but lacked incisiveness in the final third. As the final quarter of the match approached, Marseille had their best chance of the game - Brandao should have pulled one back in the 67th but Brandao's open header from inside the six-yard box went over the bar.
"We had our chances, Bayern too. The difference is they took their chances, we didn't," Deschamps said. "What we did in this competition wasn't always logical from a sporting point of view. But I think today was just a step too far."
The result sees Bayern advance to the semi-finals, where they will face the winner of Real Madrid's tie with APOEL.