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'We're awake now'

FCB self-critical after dress rehearsal defeat

No sooner had the training ground been cleared of snow at the Säbener Strasse facility on Sunday lunchtime, the air was again thick with frozen flakes and the green of the turf vanished under a blanket of white, but the idyllic winter scene was deceptive. FC Bayern are alarmed. “We have to improve by Friday,” commented Philipp Lahm after the 2-1 defeat away to Karlsruhe in Saturday's dress rehearsal prior to the Bundesliga restart. “Things have to improve, but they will improve. I'm certain of it,” added the FCB skipper: “We'll see a different team on Friday.”

Pep Guardiola was equally unhappy with the defeat at the Wildpark stadium. However, he was not particularly surprised either. Before Saturday FCB’s mid-season preparation had only consisted of training sessions. “It's completely different when you're facing actual opponents,” commented the FCB head coach, calling the defeat “a lesson. You have to make mistakes in order to improve.”

Jérôme Boateng was dismayed by the record champions' organisation and approach to the one-on-one challenges. “You can't win a match this way,” said the centre-back, who was sent off after a foul 72 minutes into the contest. Dimitrij Nazarov scored the match-winner from the ensuing penalty. In the first half, Arturo Vidal had equalised (21st minute) after Boubacar Barry's opener (16) for second division KSC. “We have to be self-critical today and say that we're not ready yet. We know where we have to improve,” commented Boateng.

'Awake and prepared'

The friendly served its purpose: it showed the areas Bayern still have to work on until the Bundesliga restart in Hamburg on Friday. Furthermore, David Alaba (66 minutes), Douglas Costa and Arjen Robben (both 45 minutes) gained match practice after being sidelined before the winter break. Last but not least, it was only the second time this season that Holger Badstuber covered the full distance.

“At least we're awake and prepared now,” said Manuel Neuer. “The main thing is to be ready for the Bundesliga restart. The others don't sleep,” added Boateng. Guardiola calculated (“six days until Hamburg”) and was reminded of his first year at Bayern. In January 2014 his troops lost 3-0 in the dress rehearsal away to Salzburg – before winning ten competitive fixtures in a row.