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Goal-hungry Bayern exceed all expectations

When Miroslav Klose scored his third goal of the evening in the 89th minute to make it 5-0 to Bayern, the Allianz Arena seemed no longer to be located amid the greenery of Munich’s Fröttmaninger Heide, but on the Theresienwiese. “Oana geht no - Oana geht no nei” and “Oh, wie ist schön” rang down from the terraces as the crowd rumbustiously celebrated Bayern’s biggest home victory since moving out of the Olympic Stadium in the summer of 2005. At that moment the atmosphere couldn’t have been much better inside a beer-tent at the Oktoberfest.

“The team has desire, that’s evident,” said manager Uli Hoeness after the match against bottom-of-the table Cottbus, trying to strike a measure tone. “We’re pleased,” he added, but the expression on his face betrayed that “pleased” was a considerable understatement. Hoeness had that certain smile that only appears when he’s thoroughly delighted with the performance of the team.

An average of three goals a game

And well might he smile. Germany’s record champions might have spent nearly an hour vainly trying to break down the strugglers from the Lausitz region, but once Klose had scored the first goal of his hat-trick they landed blow after blow. Martin Demichelis after 63 minutes, Luca Toni after 69 and then two more from Klose in the 75th and 89th minutes after perfectly-flighted crosses from the young substitute Toni Kroos set the stadium throbbing with a fairground atmosphere.

“Once the first goal went in, the dam burst,” said coach Ottmar Hitzfeld following the final whistle. “Then the pressure was lifted and the play flowed much better.” His team have managed five wins and two draws in the seven games so far and are averaging three goals a game. Bayern’s goal difference of 18 is by far the best in the league. Rarely in recent years has a Bayern team been as goal-hungry as the present one.

Pedal to the metal

“By now I find it quite natural that we should score so many goals against an opponent like this,” said Hitzfeld. “We’re certainly capable of it.” With high-profile recruits such as Luca Toni, Franck Ribéry and not least Klose – who took his goal tally for the season from five to eight on Wednesday night – the Bayern coach has a world-class attacking trio at his disposal. “It’s helped us that the strikers have hit form right at the start of the season and no-one’s been struggling for goals,” Hitzfeld said. “We’ve been able to show what we’re capable of, which is very satisfying.”

But other new arrivals such as Hamit Altintop, who already has three goals this season himself, the ball-winner and engine-room of the team Zé Roberto, and the tireless Marcell Jansen on the left wing have also made their contribution to a playing style that repeatedly brings the fans in the permanently sold-out Allianz Arena to their feet. Even with a comfortable lead the ‘new Bayern’ keep the pedal to the metal.

Hitzfeld will take stock after Leverkusen

“After we took the lead we stepped up a gear,” said Mark van Bommel, highlighting a completely new characteristic for a Bayern side. “Normally in a week with two matches we would take it a bit easier, but we demonstrate that we have a good team that always wants more.” It’s a far cry from the many nervous 1-0 or 2-1 victories over the past couple of seasons, and the dropping of points to manifestly inferior sides like Cottbus.

“Up to now we have fulfilled our expectations or perhaps even exceeded them,” Hitzfeld confirmed with satisfaction the following day. However, he prefers to wait until after the next matchday, which sees the top-of-the-table clash with second-placed Leverkusen, before taking stock of the season so far in greater depth. Said Hitzfeld: “ If we can get past this challenge, we will be on the right track.”

Reporter for Dirk Hauser