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Punished by Freiburg

FCB rue missed chance of victory

Bayern controlled 74 percent of the possession in Tuesday evening’s match away to Freiburg and finished with 17 shots to their opponents’ eight, but the contest ended in a 1-1 stalemate. To a man, the FCB camp was disappointed with the outcome. “We know we've let a victory slip through our hands. It was unnecessary, thrown away and messed up," fumed Manuel Neuer. At the time, there were also grave injury concerns about Bastian Schweinsteiger, but there was a silver lining to that particular cloud, as the vice-captain has only sprained an ankle. Nevertheless, said Thomas Müller, Tuesday evening’s draw “feels like a defeat."

Plenty of heads were down as the players made their way to the team bus, but that had seemed a remote prospect up until the 86th minute of a match FCB dominated throughout. Xherdan Shaqiri handed the champions a fully merited lead after 33 minutes, but substitute Nicolas Höfler’s strike four minutes from time meant the final score failed to reflect the balance of play.

“I know it's always tough in Freiburg. But we played well and controlled the match," said Pep Guardiola, not at all unhappy with his team's display. With only three days to go until the UEFA Super Cup, the coach rested a number of key individuals including Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm, but reshuffled Bayern were always in the driving seat in spite of Freiburg’s undoubted courage and energetic defending. “We've taken a good step forward, and at the end of the day, that's the most important thing," Guardiola summarised.

For all that, the Spaniard would happily have gone home with all three points. The Bayern personalities knew where the finger should be pointed. “We have only ourselves to blame," declared Lahm, reflecting on the visitors’ failure to make the game safe with a second goal. “We had enough chances to make it two, and that would have been game over," Lahm lamented, “we’ve had this problem for a few matches now, not being utterly determined to make it 2-0, and today we've been punished."

Another contributory factor was Freiburg’s best player, Oliver Baumann. Guardiola described the SCF keeper’s performance as “exceptional", with the home number one making a string of outstanding saves. “We had plenty of chances but we were inefficient," commented Müller, summarising the game with two telling points: “We should have made it 2-0, and we shouldn't be conceding any goals. If we’d done that, we’d have been rewarded."

On the following day, the playing and coaching staff resolved to put the draw behind them and do better next time, starting in Prague on Friday when the treble winners can claim an important European trophy against Chelsea. “Bayern have never won this cup," noted Lahm, “so winning it is a big target for us."