presented by
'Thanks for everything'

Seasonal cheer for FCB and their fans

After the final whistle on Tuesday evening, the players said farewell to the crowd at the Allianz Arena with a Christmas laser show and a gigantic banner. “Thank you for everything” was the message to the fans after the German record champions posted a narrow but merited 1-0 win over SV Darmstadt in the DFB Cup Round of 16, winning the 13th home match in a row this season.

However, unlike most of the previous 12 matches, the display on the pitch against Darmstadt was not particularly fiery. “It wasn't a gala with five or six goals, but we're okay with that,” commented Thomas Müller at the Allianz Arena, which was not sold out (72,500) for the first time in a long time. The Germany international added: “A 1-0 win doesn't feel so bad. I'm going home satisfied.”

Alonso makes the difference

A fine 25-yard effort by Xabi Alonso wrapped up a berth in the last eight for the record cup winners. “A world-class goal, incredible,” Robert Lewandowski said of the Spaniard's first goal of the season. “The match wasn't outstanding, but the main thing is that we're in the next round. That's all we wanted,” admitted the Poland striker.

The hosts had difficulties creating clear-cut chances against very defensive Darmstadt, who “sometimes defended with a back six,” according to skipper Philipp Lahm. “It's not easy when your opponents drop so deep with all their players,” said Pep Guardiola, who was “very satisfied” that his team stayed in the cup race.

Energy at a premium

“It was quite an active match for a 1-0 scoreline. It was exhausting and unpleasant against Darmstadt,” commented Müller after an “intense” contest. It was obvious that the Reds need the upcoming winter break. The loss of energy over the last few weeks is becoming more and more apparent, the more so as Bayern lack alternatives due to many injuries. Pep Guardiola only had 16 fit players at his disposal against Darmstadt.

The last few weeks were “a little exhausting,” declared Lewandowski. “The players' condition isn't perfect because we've played a lot. We've had few options to rotate, especially in the last few weeks. You can see that,” Lahm agreed. Guardiola hopes that “the injured players return after the winter break.”

After the successful final display on home soil for 2015, the Munich men thus focus on the last match of the year against Hannover on Saturday. “We have one match left and we have to give everything we still have,” said Lewandowski, demanding commitment, whereas Müller uttered more festive thoughts: “If I could wish for something beforehand I'd take three points on Saturday.”