'A step forward!' Reds up the pace

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A tally of 17 wins, one draw and one defeat from 19 Bundesliga matches is remarkable by anyone's standards. It goes without saying that the Reds have not yet wrapped up their fourth championship title in a row, but the figures at the beginning of February are still extremely impressive. After a successful Bundesliga restart match away to Hamburg, where Bayern had a few problems, the 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the Reds control the game more smoothly in Sunday's 2-0 victory over TSG Hoffenheim. "It was a step forward," summarised Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: "We played well and won deservedly. The scoreline could have been even higher."

Bayern took 29 shots on goal to the visitors' two, yet Hoffenheim could have scored an equaliser in the second half. The men from Munich have only themselves to blame for "not scoring the second goal earlier," according to Arjen Robben, who made the starting line-up in the Bundesliga for the first time since 21 November. "As long as it's only 1-0 it's always dangerous. But on the whole we turned in a good display."

That goes for Robben too. The Dutchman applied steady pressure on the right together with Philipp Lahm and had several chances to score. "I'm glad Arjen is back," commented Pep Guardiola. The Catalan had to experiment in the second match after the winter break because both Jérôme Boateng (ruptured muscle) and Javi Martínez (knee problems) were sidelined. The coach sprang a surprise by installing Joshua Kimmich as the second centre-back alongside Holger Badstuber.

'Incredible run' for Lewandowski

"We worked on it in training during the week. I just tried to put it into practice on the pitch," revealed Kimmich. The Germany youth international turned in a creditable display. "We allowed Hoffenheim very few chances," Manuel Neuer commented, praising the defenders. Captain Lahm was satisfied too: "The players have shown what they're capable of. We were very, very good in the first half, played good football and posted a clear-cut victory."

Once again it was Robert Lewandowski (32, 64) who wrapped things up for Bayern. "Before the first goal he's in a perfect position. Before the second Lewy chips in from Philipp's superb pass, he's ruthless in front of the goal. That's his job," Kimmich commented in a neat summing up. Lewandowski is now up to 19 goals in the current Bundesliga campaign.

"Incredible," said Lahm, "he's just on a run. I hope it continues." An extension of the Lewandowski weeks would indeed be welcome: following the top clash away to Leverkusen on Saturday at 18.30 CET the Bavarians enter a new phase including midweek games. "Then it really gets going for us," added Robben.


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