Rummenigge: It’s nothing dramatic

Read article contents
Increase size

Applause is rare after defeats. But around quarter past 11 on Tuesday the sound of clapping hands reverberated around the luxurious banqueting hall of The Landmark, the Bavarians' team hotel in London. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge talked of a "defeat after which the players left the pitch with their heads held high." He had to interrupt his address: The 300 or so guests applauded.

The stats from the Bayern point of view after 90 minutes of top-class football were impressive: 73 percent possession and 21 shots to Arsenal's 13. Thiago (139), Xabi Alonso (112) and Juan Bernat (108) each boasted more touches of the ball than the two best Gunners (Mesut Özil 54, Santi Cazorla 52) combined. But at the end of the day, in terms of goals, the result was a 2-0 reverse.

'We're really disappointed'

"We were dominant, we attacked on the right, on the left, in the middle and had enough chances to win this match," commented Pep Guardiola, praising the "courage" and "spirit" of his players. "But in the end it's most important to score goals. Our opponents made more use of their chances." The Bavarians were not rewarded for their efforts on the evening. For the first time in this campaign they did not score, and their streak of 12 wins in a row in competitive fixtures came to an end.

"We're really disappointed that we've lost this match. We didn't turn our possession into goals," said Jérôme Boateng. It was telling that of all people, Manuel Neuer made the decisive mistake, on which Olivier Giroud capitalised after 76 minutes. In the first half the goalkeeper had kept his side in the game with "two or three world-class saves" against the Gunners with their dangerous counter-attacks. "It was my fault," said the FCB keeper, "If I stay on my line, nothing happens."

Arsenal's top player: Keeper Petr Cech

"Don't blame Manu!" Like Thomas Müller, all the Bayern pros came to Neuer's defence. "We didn't lose because of Manuel," said Guardiola. Instead, everybody had to "look at his own performance," according to Müller. Thiago (11), Douglas Costa (19, 42, 51), Arturo Vidal (28), Lewandowski (54, 75) and Müller (76) had good scoring chances, but missed or did not get past Arsenal's top player, veteran keeper Petr Cech. Mesut Özil's goal in injury time (90+4) was a mere footnote.

"That's the Champions League. And in the Champions League you have to be perfect. We weren't today," explained Guardiola. Rummenigge swiftly moved on at the banquet: "Actually nothing dramatic has happened. We're still top of the table." It is important that the players "show the right reaction immediately" and continue their winning streak, a new Bundesliga starting record of nine victories in a row, against FC Köln on Saturday. "I recommend that you just keep it up," the Bayern chairman instructed the players, "it could be a record that stands for all time."