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Hard-fought victory

Tense to the end for FCB in Frankfurt

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Back in early April, on a frosty day in Frankfurt, Bastian Schweinsteiger's stunning finish sealed the fastest-ever Bundesliga title for FCB. Four and a half months later, the boss is now Pep Guardiola, the team are learning new moves and formations, and the season is only a couple of games old. The two matches cannot really be compared, but the result at least was the same, as Bayern again beat Eintracht 1-0.

The celebrations of last season's title and the treble are rapidly passing into history, and the first away Bundesliga fixture under Guardiola saw Bayern pushed to the limit in order to preserve their perfect start to the campaign. “It was very tense at the end," acknowledged Dante after an eventful 90-minute encounter, “but the important thing is that we kept a clean sheet."

That was a contrast to opening day and the 3-1 victory over Mönchengladbach, where FCB “allowed our opponents too many chances on the break," the Spanish boss complained. “But we controlled the game much better," Guardiola continued after Saturday's match, “I'm happy and 100 percent satisfied." Toni Kroos also praised a better defensive performance, but identified one problem in particular: “We have to point the finger at ourselves for not wrapping it up earlier. That would have made it a lot calmer at the end."

Kroos was referring to an excellent first half in which FCB put Frankfurt under ceaseless pressure and took a 13th-minute lead through Mario Mandzukic. However, the visitors also failed to convert a number of very good chances, Kroos himself hitting the post with a header after nine minutes and Dante seeing his effort from point-blank range after half an hour stopped by Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp. “I'm really cross about it," the Brazilian fumed afterwards, “what a shame!"

Excellent pass completion

The match stats simply serve to emphasise Bayern's superiority in the first period. Eight of Bayern's 11 men posted a pass completion rate higher than 90 percent, with eight of the ten outfield players taking a shot at goal, pointing to the immense flexibility in Bayern's attacking arsenal. The only problem was the number of goals actually scored, as Manuel Neuer also pointed out.

“It meant Frankfurt threw everything at us towards the end," the keeper noted. There was one especially anxious moment shortly before full-time when Frankfurt's Alex Meier went down in the box while chasing a long ball, but the referee waved play on. “It was a bit tough in the last ten minutes," commented Franck Ribéry.

Fine tuning continues

At the end of the day, Bayern's victory was deserved, bringing as it did three vital points and also equalling the club record of 27 straight games without defeat. “We knew it would be tough after the international break and it wouldn't be a festival of football," remarked Neuer. “We were relatively comfortable," added Dante, “but there are a couple of things we have to correct." After all, it is still only the start of the season.