Created on 26-08-2007 at 00:00 AM
Oliver Kahn patently failed to enjoy his afternoon at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. Following the 3-0 win over Hannover 96, the Bayern keeper rushed from the Allianz Arena without saying a word, apparently dissatisfied with his performance. True enough, he made one routine save in the first half, and none whatsoever in the second. He almost need not have bothered turning up – but despite the cap pulled down low over his face, he must have been laughing, at least inwardly.
The club captain has many good reasons to smile: Bayern have never before kept clean sheets in all their first three league matches, and have never before started with three wins out of three, ten goals scored and none conceded. "We're on a roll, and our only real danger is complacency,“ Philipp Lahm mused after the Reds turned in another gala display in dispensing with Hannover.
Passion and flair
"I really enjoyed it, the second half especially,“ Ottmar Hitzfeld commented. At the news conference marking his 250th Bundesliga victory as a coach, the General singled out an unusually large number of his players for praise. "We were determined and aggressive in attack. We put together promising attacking moves every two or three minutes,“ he enthused, "our trump card at the moment is that we're approaching every game with passion and flair.“
Even visiting coach Dieter Hecking applauded Bayern's thrilling display. "I'd like my players to review and learn from one or two of Bayern's best attacks," he commented wryly, "the single positive aspect is that we only conceded three goals." Luca Toni (28), Mark van Bommel (68) and Hamit Altintop (86) found the target for the home side.
Defence the key to success
Hannover's slim hopes were dealt a more or less fatal blow when Altin Lala collected a second yellow card and was dismissed in the 45th minute. "We don't need to dwell on the second half. We were simply too dominant," observed Hitzfeld, although Van Bommel pointed out that the extra man did not necessarily make things any easier. "Normally, it's very tough against ten men. But we showed what you have to do, letting the ball do the work and staying mobile.“
Franck Ribéry, a man "exuding enjoyment of the game" according to Hitzfeld, was once again the focus for most of the post-match praise, but the Bayern coach was at pains to recognise his excellent defenders. "We're not forgetting the dirty work in defence. That's the hallmark of this team, and it's the key to our success,“ he pointed out.
Organisation and discipline provided the platform for the team's attacking efforts. "If your opponents have few chances, you play with greater confidence,“ Hitzfeld explained. "The whole team's helping out in defence," Van Bommel reflected, "we're stopping our opponents making chances, we're creating plenty of our own, and we're playing great football. It was really enjoyable out there, and I think the crowd liked it too.“
The only clouds in an otherwise sunny sky were an injury to Luca Toni and an array of missed chances. "The only mistake we made today was not winning by more," Van Bommel mused. Added Hitzfeld: "My only complaint is the missed chances, but 3-0 is a very good result. We've done what we set out to do.“
Nothing won yet
Despite the outstanding start to the season, the Bayern camp knows plenty of work lies ahead. "I won't say it's a successful start until we're up to six or seven games,“ Hitzfeld warned. Munich have opened a small gap at the top of the table, but only three games have been played. "Obviously we'll suffer setbacks at some point. Then we'll see how the players react, how they deal with it, and whether they have the character.“
Perhaps the tight-lipped Oliver Kahn, all too well aware that nothing has been won yet, simply refused to join in the growing groundswell of euphoria. Uli Hoeneß also left the Allianz Arena without comment. "Have a good Sunday," was all he said to reporters, a broad grin stretched across his face.