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‘Top level'

Bayern approach new season 'with confidence'

FCB are celebrating a third triumph in the fourth edition of the Audi Cup. With convincing victories over two top European teams FC Bayern again won the invitation tournament at the Allianz Arena after previous victories in 2009 and 2013. The 1-0 victory over Real Madrid was a successful conclusion to the Reds' six-week summer preparations four days before the DFB Cup first round match away to fifth-tier FC Nöttingen.

“We should organise this incredible tournament every year,” FCB head coach Pep Guardiola commented after the awards ceremony, saying he was “very satisfied” with the course of the tournament and the performance of his players on both days. “We've played top level football,” said Guardiola, who personally won the tournament for the third time in a row: in 2011 he claimed the trophy with Barcelona. “Beating Madrid and winning the tournament is a magnificent thing. It's brilliant for us.”

Sporting director Matthias Sammer was just as happy with the team's performance after clearly winning 3-0 against AC Milan in the semi-final and the narrow victory over Real. “We've shown very good elements in both games,” explained Sammer, refusing to be carried away. Rather, he demanded that the players continue to work ‘modestly’ in the coming weeks. Only five days after the cup clash the Reds meet Hamburger SV in the official Bundesliga restart fixture.

Victories over 'big-name opponents'

From the beginning, the hosts were dynamic and eager against the Spanish record champions, who were without star strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, and kept Gareth Bale in reserve on the bench. But the Bavarians failed to exploit their superiority at first. It was not until the 88th minute that Robert Lewandowski netted, scoring the winner after a free-kick by new signing Douglas Costa, who was impressive once again.

“We've done it well and won against two big-name opponents,” said a happy Thomas Müller. Skipper Philipp Lahm said: “You're in a tournament like this to win it. Strong international teams took part. We've played well and won again, that's absolutely wonderful for us.” The Audi Cup marks the end of a preseason phase in which FCB played eight matches in total, winning against “big international opponents” (Müller) like Valencia, Inter and AC Milan, and Real Madrid. Lahm commented: “We start the season with confidence.”

Aside from the Supercup final against VfL Wolfsburg last weekend, the season starts with the cup clash in Nöttingen on Sunday. “We're approaching the weekend, and we’re focused on the DFB Cup. Everyone thinks victory is a foregone conclusion, but we're very serious about it,” declared Müller.