FCB ooze character in adversity
It's rare for Manuel Neuer to find himself completely alone on the subs' bench, but it happened for the last few minutes of Saturday's 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt after Holger Badstuber, the last remaining outfield player, entered the fray as a sub. However, Neuer will not have minded his solitary interlude in the slightest because Bayern again showed huge character in adversity to secure another convincing win.
"I was very impressed because we played 120 minutes in Leverkusen less than 72 hours earlier. The team did sensationally well," enthused Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after Munich's big-hearted display in front of a 75,000 capacity crowd. "A là bonne heure, all I can do is pay a huge compliment to the team and the coach."
Pep Guardiola also made no secret of his pleasure after the match. "I'm very, very proud. Three days after the game in Leverkusen, we've played the third-best attacking team in the Bundesliga, and we've controlled and dominated them," the coach declared. Captain Philipp Lahm joined in the chorus of praise: "We have the right mental attitude." The football wasn't bad either, as Robert Lewandowski set FCB on their way with a glorious 15th-minute opener.
"We were definitely tired," admitted Thomas Müller, "it's not like I woke up early this morning shouting: 'Hurrah, another game; I'm so thrilled!' But once you've been out there a quarter of an hour it all clicks into gear." The striker had a goal wrongly chalked off for offside before half-time, but he was sanguine about it afterwards. "It didn't make much difference," the World Cup winner noted.
Bayern retained their momentum in the second half, Lewandowski forcing home from close range to double the lead on 66 minutes after a fluent attacking move. "It was a bit easier for us after that," said the Pole. Müller rounded off the scoring eight minutes from time with a remarkable strike from a seemingly impossible angle. "I scored in Hamburg once from a similar position. They shouldn't let me shoot from there," the striker grinned.
Hopes for Ribéry and Schweinsteiger
"The team did really well and thoroughly deserved to win 3-0. Frankfurt got off lightly in fact," commented Rummenigge, also expressing delight at Thiago's return to the starting line-up. "We've always known he's a gifted footballer and he showed it again today. The important thing for him is to keep it going." Müller remarked: "It's fantastic that he's returned at such a top level after a long injury."
Looking ahead to the Champions League clash at Porto on Wednesday, Guardiola expressed one big wish: "I hope no-one else gets injured." Rummenigge has hopes of comebacks for Franck Ribéry and Bastian Schweinsteiger. "Franck has trained well. Bastian has his ankle problem and also a virus. I hope they can travel with us on Monday." Captain Lahm is up for the task: "We want to win in Porto."