'The three points stay here...'
Following Saturday's 3-1 victory over Ingolstadt the FCB stars had Sunday off, a welcome chance to draw breath and reflect on a match that could easily have gone the other way. A shot count of 13-10 in favour of the visitors to the Allianz Arena is not an everyday occurrance. "Ingolstadt pushed us all the way," noted Manuel Neuer. But Rafinha hit the nail on the head when he declared: "The three points stay here!"
The champions have the maximum nine points from their first three Bundesliga matches, having also won their opening Champions League and DFB Cup fixtures and the Supercup. Bayern last made an equally successful start four years ago. The stats are excellent, but the players know there is ample room for improvement. "We let them create too many good openings. That has to stop," Joshua Kimmich acknowledged.
The Germany starlet returned to centre-back on Saturday after a long spell in other positions, because the bout of gastroenteritis at the club that prevented Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller and David Alaba from appearing also accounted for the late withdrawal of Mats Hummels. "We were missing a lot of players. It was a completely new back four," Carlo Ancelotti remarked, "you can't always play great football. Sometimes you have to show other qualities. That was one of those games.“
Rafinha's rare strike
On Saturday, the men in red responded to FCI striker Dario Lezcano's eighth-minute opener with Robert Lewandowski's superbly-lobbed 12th-minute leveller. After the break, Xabi Alonso (50) and Rafinha (84) sealed the points with unstoppable long-range efforts. Right-back Rafa hit the target for the first time in almost three and a half years - his most recent goal before Saturday came on 13 April 2013 against Nürnberg. "It doesn't happen very often, but fortunately it worked out today," the German-Brazilian dual national grinned.
Rafinha's strike was a welcome relief for the 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena, as FCI had previously come close to an equaliser on several occasions. However, Manuel Neuer was in his customary world-class form. "We had luck on our side this time," commented Lewandowski, "it was a real fight.“ Bayern's next Bundesliga appointment is in just four days' time on Wednesday when Hertha BSC visit Munich. By then, Ancelotti will be hoping the selection situation has returned to something like normal.