"Brilliant" effort ahead of Madrid

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No one knows exactly how he did it, but one thing is sure: “If anyone can play a pass like that, it’s Thiago.” That was how Philipp Lahm explained Thiago’s “technically difficult” pass, which the Spaniard played for the winner against Hamburg after 88 minutes of work, battling and passion. Thiago took advantage of a misplaced HSV pass with an elaborate and direct through ball of his own into the path of Ribéry. He then left his defender standing and passed to the far post for Joshua Kimmich to tap home – 1-0!

“The game was as difficult as expected so it was an important win,” said Carlo Ancelotti with relief after his eighth victory in as many competitive matches as Bayern coach (a club record). “Hamburg played with a lot of energy and intensity.” Mats Hummels, who was forced off injured in the 51st minute, spoke about “a very tough match that was decided by a brilliant moment from Thiago and Franck Ribéry.”

Ancelotti provides fresh impetus

Bayern particularly struggled in the first half. “Hamburg were better than us at that time,” expressed Ancelotti. “Our passing game was not good, we were taking too long on the ball and our intensity was not high enough,” analysed Lahm, “but it was better in the second half.” Ancelotti was also able to add fresh impetus into the game with the introduction of Ribéry in the 61st minute.

It was a narrow victory in the end, but a deserved one. 17-7 on shots, 20-8 on crosses and 69% possession were the stats in Bayern’s favour. HSV keeper René Adler was the only obstacle in FCB’s way for long periods of time, making crucial saves in the 57th, 71st, 77th and 79th minute. But with just two minutes left on the clock, Kimmich, who was everywhere (5 shots, 86 passes and 103 touches), was able to reward Bayern for their efforts.

Madrid on Wednesday

“As I was running in, I was thinking: this could be decisive. I actually thought that Franck would pull the ball back but luckily he didn’t and it worked out well,” said Kimmich as he described his winning goal in Bayern’s final game before the Champions League match at Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. Lahm believes that Bayern can expect “a difficult game” at the Vicente Calderón.

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