presented by
The one-minute knock-out

Plenty of promise despite away slip-up

Louis van Gaal had a premonition about the Kaiserslautern trip. “I’d been hoping not to play a promoted club in the first five matches,” the coach said a day prior to setting off for Friday’s clash. Especially at the start of a season, promoted teams are well-known for their vigour and sheer enthusiasm, as FCB found in a 2-1 defeat away to Mainz on Matchday 3 last term.

Unfortunately, Van Gaal’s premonition turned out to be correct, as the champions suffered another rude awakening early in the new season. “I hoped we’d survive the game without any damage, but there are days when nothing works out for you in front of goal. Today was one of those,” the coach reflected after a 2-0 defeat in front of a frenzied near-50,000 crowd at the famous Betzenberg stadium.

The defeat was, in truth, totally avoidable. Van Gaal’s men controlled the play for all but a few minutes, and easily finished ahead of their opponents in all the major match stats. However, the points went to the utterly resolute underdogs, who fought like lions throughout and showed a ruthless streak in front of Jörg Butt’s goal. “We made the most of our very rare chances. That was the key to today’s game,” midfielder Christian Tiffert said afterwards.