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'Incredible level'

Bayern shine in the Champions League

The Allianz Arena clocks showed 20 minutes had been played when Bayern made it three. Douglas Costa, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller had scored for the German record champions. 3-0 in the home match that was so important for the group win: FC Bayern are in glittering form! “Our lads are doing very, very well indeed,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after the match. Kingsley Coman rounded off the final 4-0 scoreline 69 minutes into Tuesday evening’s contest with Olympiacos.

“If you win the group on the second to last matchday it's a great result. We're very pleased,” declared the FCB chairman, speaking of an “incredible level. I can't remember a match in which the team wasn't motivated and focused. This is unparalleled quality with a consistency that didn't exist in my days or in Franz Beckenbauer's days.”

Bayern are turning in one gala performance after another these days, particularly in front of their home crowd. 5-0 against Zagreb, 5-1 against Arsenal, Dortmund, and Wolfsburg. 4-0 against Köln, Stuttgart, and now Olympiacos, themselves the unbeaten table-toppers in the Greek league. “Our home games are going very well,” stressed Thomas Müller, who set a new record as the youngest player to secure a 50th Champions League victory. “We've got a great team.”

'Magic octagon'

Pep Guardiola was a relieved man once Bayern had wrapped up the group win. Doing so means the Bavarians avoid heavyweight encounters with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last sixteen, to be drawn on 14 December. “We've scored plenty of goals at home again,” commented the Catalan, who fielded an impressive attacking unit: Lewandowski, Robben, Costa, Coman, and Müller breezed past the Greeks from the start. “We've got a magic octagon,” joked Müller.

“The players were hungry from the beginning,” said sporting director Matthias Sammer, drawing almost entirely positive conclusions. The Reds now focus on the last group match against Dinamo Zagreb in two weeks – and want to be in top form for the big games in March and April, which Manuel Neuer deemed decisive: “We're hyped now, but we have to go on. We have a long campaign ahead of us and there may be setbacks.”

Injuries for instance. Arjen Robben had to be subbed off early on, but fortunately just as a precaution. Douglas Costa too had slight muscular problems. David Alaba missed out due to an ankle injury. Franck Ribéry, Juan Bernat and Thiago have been sidelined for a long time, which proves there can be no guarantees even if there is plenty of quality in the squad. “We know it only gets decided in the spring,” commented Neuer, “but it's been a good Champions League campaign so far.”