Created on 23-02-2012 at 00:00 AM
One small gesture provided a small but welcome positive note for Bayern as Ash Wednesday drew to a close. Shortly before midnight, as the downcast players filed in to the traditional post-match banquet, they were warmly applauded by the sponsors and VIP fans in the ballroom. “It's a sign that you still believe in the team," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in his speech to the assembled company a little later, “it's a sign of one of Bayern's greatest qualities, that the family sticks together even when times are tough, so we come out of it together." He then addressed the players directly: “Your task over the next few weeks is to repay this gesture of goodwill."
Some 90 minutes after a sobering 1-0 defeat away to FC Basel in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg, the Bayern chairman's tone was calm but insistent. “I do believe we've arrived at a very important moment in Bayern Munich's season," he said, recalling “wonderful times" in the first half of the campaign, with its serene progress through the Champions League group stage and top spot in the Bundesliga at the halfway mark. “But I have certain concerns and points to ponder: what has basically happened between Christmas and today?"