On-track Reds looking forward to Madrid
When they heard the final whistle and made their way over to the away faithful, the Bayern pros suddenly had a spring in their step despite 90 exhausting minutes against Hertha. The men from Munich were relieved and happy after Saturday's hard-fought but merited 2-0 victory away to Berlin, which hands them their first match ball in the quest for a fourth championship title in a row. "Next week we have the chance to win the Bundesliga at home. It would be something very special," a hoarse Thomas Müller rejoiced.
Hertha made it particularly difficult for the Bavarians in the first 45 minutes. "We had a little luck then. We struggled with the one-on-ones," explained Joshua Kimmich. "We didn't really get into the game, and we just have to admit that," agreed Manuel Neuer, while Mario Götze observed that Bayern created "only a few chances" at first.
Neuer praises defence – Vidal scores again
At least the record champions' defence once again held firm. "Only one goal conceded in seven matches – amazing," Thomas Müller said, praising the whole team for their play when not in possession. "It was important for us to turn in a strong defensive display," agreed Neuer, who stood between the posts behind an untried back four. "When we rotate it's very important that the players do their job." Serdar Tasci for example turned in a "top performance" just a few hours before his 29th birthday, according to the World's Best Goalkeeper.
"I'm happy that I played the 90 minutes," Tasci said, "it worked out very well." That was particularly true after the interval, when Bayern showed more determination. "We improved," commented Kimmich, who joined his team-mates in celebrating Arturo Vidal's opener early into the second half. "He's on top form," said Götze, who set up the Chilean's goal, his fourth in the last six matches for Bayern. Douglas Costa wrapped things up with a sumptuous long-range effort ten minutes from the end.
Atlético? 'Need a top-level performance'
"The main thing was to take three more points," a relieved Robert Lewandowski said after what Kimmich described as an "ultimately deserved victory". Neuer outlined the situation in the race for the title: "Now we can win the Bundesliga with a home victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach!" It would be the first time since the 1999/2000 season that the German record champions win the Bundesliga on their home field. "It wouldn't be bad at all," said Götze with a grin.
But before boarding the bus to the airport the Munich stars turned their focus to the Champions League. "We must fight for every centimetre and be alert from the first minute," Götze demanded before Wednesday's opening encounter with Atlético Madrid: "We have to be clever and need a top-level performance." Lewandowski agreed: "I hope we'll return to Munich with a good result. I'm looking forward to it!"