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Workmanlike victory

No fireworks, but three vital points for FCB

Bayern are undefeated in their last 32 Bundesliga matches, comfortably breaking the club record and now pushing up towards Hamburg's league record of 36, set back in the 1980s. And in Saturday afternoon’s 1-0 home victory over VfL Wolfsburg, the men from Munich scored for the 44th league game in a row. The treble triumph meant 2012/13 was the most successful season in the club's history - and under new boss Pep Guardiola, the Reds are simply continuing where they left off in May and June.

FCB have 19 points from seven league games, are comfortably through to the last sixteen of the DFB Cup, and opened their Champions League campaign with an impressive win. By the by, Guardiola's team also claimed the UEFA Super Cup for the first time. There can really be no complaints at the moment, so it's hardly necessary to excuse Saturday’s lack of attacking sparkle against a gritty Wolfsburg side. “Obviously, the fans flock to the stadium hoping to see plenty of goals. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible," noted Jerome Boateng. “We didn't shine, but it was still a deserved victory."

As has always been the case so far this season, Bayern were the dominant team from start to finish, controlling 71 percent of the possession in front of a boisterous 71,000 full house at the Allianz Arena. However, Munich struggled to create chances against Wolfsburg, “because they defended aggressively," commented Thomas Müller, scorer of the crucial 63rd-minute winner. “We didn't find the right solutions, and we weren't able to score an early goal," the striker analysed.

Keeper Manuel Neuer, who made a fine save to deny former FCB midfielder Luiz Gustavo from the Wolves’ only clear-cut chance of the afternoon, felt it was a “workmanlike victory" for the home team: “We never stopped believing we'd score at some point. We invested a huge amount." Neuer insisted he was not surprised at Wolfsburg's ability to make life tough for the pre-match favourites. “They don't have any European commitments, and every Bundesliga side can run and fight," the keeper said.

Müller offered a similar opinion. “Naturally, everyone expects and hopes to see another gala display from Bayern," reflected the Germany international, “but other teams play good football too. They probably have five or six players capable of covering 14 km in the match." Luiz Gustavo for example. The 26-year-old has undoubtedly brought greater stability to the Wolves defence this season.

The Brazilian, who spent two and a half seasons with Bayern before switching to Lower Saxony in the summer, had an emotional afternoon at the Allianz Arena. “I met up again with lots of friends. It was a great day," he said afterwards. Prior to kick-off, he received an official farewell and a bouquet from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß, and dropped in to see his former team-mates in their dressing room after the final whistle. “It was great to play against a good friend. I'm wishing him all the best," said Boateng.

Out on the field, Bayern were in no mood for such generosity of spirit. Afterwards, the Munich camp was uniformly pleased with the three important points, which keep the champions behind leaders Dortmund only on goal difference. The stars now have a brief pause for breath before setting off for a Champions League showdown away to Manchester City on Wednesday.

“It'll be a very, very hard-fought match," remarked Dante. Boateng, who played for the Blues in 2010/11, said it would be a “great experience for the team." In all likelihood, Bayern will be granted a little more space for their passing game in the north-west of England, much to the liking of boss Guardiola: “I'm certain we'll play better again in our matches against Manchester City and Leverkusen."