Emphatic statement before the winter break
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sipped his champagne glass contently. Four days before Christmas, it wasn’t just the FC Bayern chairman who was in the mood for celebration. With a convincing and comfortable 3-0 victory in the top-of-the-table clash against title challengers RB Leipzig, the record champions gave themselves the perfect gift in the final game of 2016 and now go into a well-earned winter break with a three-point lead over the side from Saxony.
“It’s been a great season so far and we’ve all had a great 2016. We’re full of joy in anticipation of Christmas,” said a “very satisfied” Rummenigge in his review of the last 12 months. He was equally enthusiastic about what he’d just seen against the promoted side from Leipzig, who “have done well and are in second place on merit. We played brilliantly, the coach got his tactics spot on. It was not only a highly deserved win, but an almost perfect display of football.”
Best first half of the season
“The first 30 minutes were perfect in terms of our pace and build-up play,” praised coach Carlo Ancelotti after arguably his team’s best first-half performance this season. After a lively start from the visitors, Ancelotti’s side soon gained control of the game and took a 2-0 lead within 25 minutes through goals from Thiago and Xabi Alonso. “The most important thing was that we showed Leipzig from the outset that they weren’t going to get anything here,” commented Philipp Lahm.
The Bayern captain was involved in the crucial moment of the match, when Leipzig playmaker Emil Forsberg was sent off for a bad foul on Lahm in the 30th minute. “It was game over from that point,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl, who spoke of a “lesson” for his team. With a one-man advantage, FCB soon put the game to bed as Robert Lewandowski made it 3-0 from the penalty spot shortly before half-time.
FCB looking ahead with optimism
“We showed a lot of intensity from the kick-off and didn’t let Leipzig play the way they wanted,” described centre-back Mats Hummels. “We played some really nice football going forward and can be very pleased with our performance tonight.” Bayern continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and wasted a few chances to add more goals. “At the end of the day Leipzig can’t complain about the scoreline,” said Rummenigge.
“The whole country was watching and looking forward to this game. We wanted to send out a statement before the winter break and we did that, particularly in the first half,” summarised Lahm prior to the start of the holidays. FCB are on 39 points going into the winter break, which ends on 20th January with the final game of the first half of the season at SC Freiburg. “It’s very positive to be top of the table over Christmas and the New Year. At the same time we need to improve in the second half of the season. We’ve dropped too many points, and that’s something we need to address,” added Lahm.
“We’re looking to the future with optimism,” said Rummenigge. “We want to win titles and we need to prove that in the second half of the season. We’ve got good foundations now, we’re still in all three competitions and now we need to ensure we go as far as possible in all three and that we’re there in May and June when the trophies are handed out.”