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'The ball refused to go in'

Unlucky and self-critical Bayern rue missed chances

Bayern's impressive tally of 103 goals scored this term was of no help on Tuesday night. Neither were the 21 shots with which the Bavarians peppered the Hoffenheim goal by the time the referee blew the final whistle. For Arjen Robben, the man who boasts almost as many league goals as Hoffenheim's starting XI combined, wearing the captain's armband for the first time did not help either. Nothing helped. A goal just refused to come.

"We had our chances to score the equaliser, but things just don't work out on certain days. That's football," Carlo Ancelotti commented after the 1-0 defeat away to TSG Hoffenheim. "We were a bit unlucky. The ball refused to go in," said Robben. Instead, it crashed off the crossbar with the half-time whistle imminent, hit the side-netting with 20 minutes to go or was saved by keeper Oliver Baumann (55, 90+1) or blocked by other Hoffenheim players (73, 90+3).

'We mustn't allow that to happen'

But Lady Luck was only one explanation for Bayern's second league defeat this term and the first one in 2017. The display in the first 45 minutes was another. "The first half wasn't so good," Ancelotti admitted, adding that his team were "a bit surprised" by Hoffenheim's intense play, constantly threatening with quick attacks. Sven Ulreich made fine saves after eight and 39 minutes, but an Andrej Kramaric effort found the net in between.

"The first half was completely unnecessary. We mustn't allow that to happen," a disappointed Robben said: "We lacked discipline, we were always a step too late, we allowed far too much space and didn't defend well as a team. Hoffenheim exploited it well." Mats Hummels criticised Bayern for "giving away the ball carelessly, allowing Hoffenheim to build up confidence and pressure."

'I'm optimistic'

Proceedings were radically different after the break. "The second half was better, just as it should be. We were dominant and had our chances," analysed Robben, whereas Ulreich turned his focus to the clash with Dortmund this weekend: "In the second half we played like we have over the last few weeks, so I'm optimistic it'll be different on Saturday." The last word fell to Robben: "We'll have to build on the second half, turn in a very good display against Dortmund and be ready for the Champions League," the winger said, dissatisfied with his first league match wearing the captain's armband: "I'll have to ask Philipp if I can be captain again at some point. You just can't finish like this."

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