Created on 21-09-2014 at 12:40 PM
It was almost a case of déjà vu for Bayern on Saturday. It had been the 90th minute three days earlier when Mario Götze deflected a Jérôme Boateng shot. In Hamburg it was the 88th minute when home defender Johan Djourou got a toe to a Thomas Müller effort. On Wednesday the ball hit the net, but on Saturday the shot went narrowly wide. The post-match mood in midweek was one of elation, but at the weekend FCB came away feeling highly disgruntled. “I'm not going home now feeling happy about taking a point,” said Thomas Müller after the goalless draw away to Hamburger SV, “I'm angry.”
Many reasons could be offered for a below par display: the burden of the Champions League... the impact of a new coach at HSV (“We were totally up for it," confirmed Lewis Holtby)... an electric atmosphere at the Imtech Arena... the ongoing injury problems, exacerbated by Arjen Robben’s withdrawal during the warm-up... But the Bayern stars were in no mood to grope for excuses after the first goalless draw since 14 April 2012, almost two and a half years ago. “We're taking a good look at ourselves knowing we decided to go for it a little too late,” reasoned Manuel Neuer.
Lack of pace
The men from Munich were particularly disappointed with the first half. “We simply didn't invest enough,” commented Philipp Lahm, “there wasn't enough pace, movement or pressure, and that'll always make it difficult.” Pep Guardiola felt his team's build-up play was poor: “We had problems linking with our strikers.” And, as Neuer pointed out: “We didn't get into the danger zone often enough.”
On the plus side Munich barely allowed their opponents a chance and also kept a third clean sheet on the bounce. After the break the Reds’ attacking play was “a bit better,” reflected Guardiola, “we had three or four good openings, but unfortunately we didn't take our chances." The head coach concluded with a sober analysis: “We didn't play well but we had chances to win. We have to keep on working hard.”
Preparations for Paderborn
No sooner said than done, as Guardiola demonstrated on Sunday morning. Most of the players were scheduled for regeneration drills, but the coach worked the rest of his men hard in tactical areas, with the focus on movement as a unit, attacking plays and shooting. And the next game is already on the horizon with the home fixture against high-flying Paderborn, the promoted team who actually lie ahead of the champions in the standings at the moment, and who visit the Allianz Arena at 8 pm on Tuesday.
“Yet again we'll have to work hard for the full 90 minutes. We need to dig deep and pull out everything we have,” admonished Mario Götze. The Germany international stated his recipe for the preparations over the next couple of days: “We need to pool our strengths and then take three points at home.”