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Points dropped

‘We have to do better against Arsenal’

Pep Guardiola seems to have seen it coming. “We’ve not won the cup, we’re not champions, and we’ve not won the Champions League. It’s only October,” the Bayern boss warned prior to his team’s trip to Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday evening, seeking to dampen a growing euphoria in the media. “We’ve won all ten games – but we’re still only seven points clear. That demonstrates the strength of our rivals. Seven points in May is a lot, but seven points in October isn’t enough.”

Guardiola’s views were confirmed by the match in front of a 51,500 capacity crowd at the Commerzbank Arena. It finished goalless after 95 hard-fought minutes in which the champions were unable to reproduce their gala form from the DFB Cup trip to Wolfsburg three days previously against the ultra-defensive home team. Munich duly dropped points in the Bundesliga for the first time this season.

Disappointed and dismayed

“We’re disappointed because we came here looking to win. It’s a shame because we’ve not won and we’ve dropped points,” commented Jérôme Boateng. Due to the 0-0 draw, Borussia Dortmund moved to within five points of FCB thanks to a 3-1 victory in Bremen on Saturday. Bayern also failed to match Tottenham Hotspur’s record of 11 straight wins at the start of a season, but that was of little interest on Friday evening. “Records don’t matter. We’re looking at ourselves and taking each game as it comes. It would have been nice but it wasn’t to be, so that’s it for us and for the media,” declared Boateng.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the draw,” agreed Arturo Vidal. Eintracht, winners of only one of their previous seven games and reeling from a shock cup exit to third-tier Erzgebirge Aue in midweek, simply parked the proverbial bus. “Frankfurt pulled all eleven men back to the edge of their own box. That makes it almost impossible for any team to score,” Vidal lamented. Boateng was also crestfallen: “Frankfurt just defended deep 30 yards from goal so it wasn’t an evening of great football.”

Like a handball team

Just as in the recent meetings with Bremen, Köln and Arsenal, FCB played their variable passing football and patiently probed for gaps in their opponents’ packed defence. “Every weekend you think to yourself: it can’t get any more defensive. But then another team comes along and proves it actually can,” sighed captain Philipp Lahm. “It makes creating chances far from easy, but we had a few openings and in a game like that you have to take them. We’ve done that successfully in recent weeks, but not today.”

Boateng reckoned FCB had been forced to play “like a handball team” but still fashioned “two or three very good chances. We have to accept we’ve not made enough of them.” Manuel Neuer reckoned Eintracht’s tactics were   “legitimate” and that the men from Frankfurt “simply played well. We very rarely broke through. It feels like we’ve lost despite trying everything we knew.”

“Our opponents are free to play the way they want. We have to be in a position to attack well,” said Guardiola, refusing to blame Eintracht’s lack of ambition for the draw. “Football isn’t always the way you want it to be.” FCB are back in action on Wednesday in the Champions League when they seek to avenge the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the first meeting between the teams two weeks ago. “We have to regenerate now and do better against Arsenal,” said Boateng. “Arsenal pulled everyone back at their place and I guess it’ll be pretty much the same again.”

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