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‘An important signal’

Resolute Reds triumph in adversity

The fastest goal conceded in Bundesliga history, an equaliser, a sending-off, a missed penalty, and a last-minute winner: Saturday’s dramatic match in Sinsheim is already guaranteed to feature in every review of the 2014/15 season. “This kind of win is the best,” enthused Mario Götze after FCB showed great determination and resolve in adversity and ultimately ran out 2-1 winners away to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

“Good opponents and a hot day: It was always going to be tough,” observed captain Philipp Lahm. And just nine seconds after kick-off, Lahm and Co “made it even tougher for ourselves,” the skipper continued. Hoffenheim striker Kevin Volland pounced on a defensive lapse to equal Karim Bellarabi’s record for the fastest goal in Bundesliga history.

“We didn’t exactly make the perfect start,” deadpanned sporting director Matthias Sammer. “These things happen,” added Rafinha. “You need a little time to digest going behind like that,” said Lahm. Manuel Neuer reckoned there was at least one positive aspect to the setback. “I’d rather concede a goal early on than in the 90th minute. It meant we had enough time to turn it around,” the keeper argued.

Götze: We rode our luck

“The team refused to be thrown out of their stride. That’s an important signal,” said Sammer. Bayern soon recovered from the shock and turned in “a very good first half,” Lahm thought. “We coped well,” agreed Thomas Müller, “after 15 minutes you knew we were going to create chances.” The Germany striker put away one of the Reds’ openings four minutes before half-time, and the champions were right back in the contest.

And they dominated the match after the break. Götze (52), Douglas Costa (62), Arturo Vidal with a shot off the bar (66) and sub Robert Lewandowski (69) came within inches of putting Munich in front. But then there was another blow after 72 minutes when Jérôme Boateng was dismissed for collecting two yellow cards in quick succession, first for a foul and then for handball in the box. Fortunately for Bayern, Eugen Polanski struck the ensuing penalty against the foot of the post. “We rode our luck there,” Götze acknowledged.

Long way to go

Despite going down to ten men, Bayern continued battering away at the home defence. “We showed real passion, especially with ten men against 11. It proved we were absolutely determined to win here,” commented Lahm. “We did everything we could to turn the game on its head,” Neuer added. Götze, described by Sammer as “one of the main reasons we won,” also praised the team’s resolve: “We went for it, even with a man less.”

The Reds were rewarded at the death when Lewandowski turned the last-minute winner over the line. The players joined the travelling support to celebrate a remarkable victory. “We stuck at it and earned our reward. Congratulations to the fans who came to see us today,” observed Müller. “We’re delighted with the win,” said a relieved Sammer, although he swiftly moved to dampen any misplaced euphoria. “We’ve reached the third kilometre of a marathon. There’s no trophy for that.”

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