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Question of character

Call for full concentration on the Bundesliga

The collective satisfaction sparked by Bayern’s historic victory over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League faded soon after the final whistle. The crowd had hardly left the Allianz Arena following the remarkable 7-1 triumph over the side lying third in the Portuguese standings, before the coaches and players turned their attention to the next task at hand: Saturday’s away meeting with VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga.

“You’re always delighted after an evening like that. The mood in the dressing room was excellent and we really enjoyed it,” reported Daniel van Buyten on Thursday. However, particularly after a gala display like Tuesday’s, “you’re obliged to come back to earth straight away and concentrate on the next match.” The midweek haute cuisine of the Champions League is duly followed by the bread-and-butter of the Bundesliga at the weekend.

Fight for every inch of ground

The need to summon up reserves of strength and desire against the side lying 14th in the domestic league standings was “a question of character,” Miroslav Klose intoned. “You recognise a good player by the way he’s equally determined in matches against Barcelona and St. Pauli, and works his socks off in both places,” said Klose, appealing to his team-mates for total focus in the trip to the Ruhr Valley.

Van Buyten reckoned matches in the Champions League were rare highlights. “But as always, it’ll be a bitter battle in the Bundesliga. We’ll have to fight for every loose ball and every inch of ground in Bochum. If we’re not mentally up for the scrap, it’ll be hard for us,” the centre-half declared.

Title race wide open

“There’s no need for a debate: if we want to finish as champions, we have to win our next two matches,” said Klose, voicing his belief that the title race would go “right to the wire.” However, based on his side’s recent successes in the Bundesliga and Champions League, the goal-getter remains confident: “There’s no point obsessing about other teams. We need to put our points on the board, and then nothing else will matter.”