Iran's Ali Daei shot into the limelight just before 1998 World Cup finals in France when it was announced that he would leave Arminia Bielefeld to join Bayern Munich in a dream move worth four million deutschemarks.
Even from two-thirds of the way up the main stand in Munich's Olympic Stadium, the frustration that Ali Daei is suffering is painfully obvious to anyone in the 56,000 crowd who cares to tear their view away from Bayern Munich's latest assault on the Champions' League and look towards the dug-outs.
There he stands on the sidelines, hands placed impatiently on hips, watching and waiting as Bayern's frontline waste chance after chance to kill off the threat of Spanish champions Barcelona and march further down the road to European glory, a route the club last completed some 23 years ago.
First it's midfielder Michael Tarnat who has his shot blocked by Barcelona keeper Ruud Hesp. Then Brazilian Giovane Elber, the club's summer signing from Stuttgart and their top scorer so far this season, and Thorsten Fink let simple chances go to waste.
Bayern's profligacy continues as Elber, Fink and Tarnat all fail to take their opportunities. Despite wave after wave of German attack, Barcelona manage to hang on for most of the first half as the Bayern midfield destroy the Spanish side's porous defence. The cavernous Olympic Stadium groans as Bayern spurn as many as nine goalscoring opportunities, and it looks like the half will end level.
However, midfielder Stefan Effenberg, Bayern's controversial veteran play-maker, eventually comes to the rescue, tapping home Elber's knock-down with virtually the last kick of the opening 45 minutes. Bayern Munich stroll off the pitch as the half-time whistle goes, 1-0 up but having failed to kill a game they were in complete charge of.
Barcelona start the second half looking like a different team as the Brazilian pairing of Rivaldo and Sonny Anderson come into their own. The Catalan club's mi...[Read more]