Sun, 06/08/17, 11:28
Stars heed Ancelotti’s wise advice
Prior to the Supercup, Carlo Ancelotti called on his players to show “personality and motivation” against Dortmund. His team went out and did just that. Bayern were 2-1 down with three minutes to play, but the record champions refused to accept defeat. A spell of relentless pressure resulted in an own goal and the equaliser that sent the game to penalties.
The men in red were coolness personified in the shootout, although it was keeper Sven Ulreich who ultimately secured the first trophy of the new campaign with two saves. “You could see we were determined to win,” commented Thomas Müller following the 5-4 penalty success. “We’re delighted with the win,” Mats Hummels agreed.
Bayern bounce back twice
The evening began badly for the Reds when Christian Pulisic pounced on a defensive error to open the scoring after 12 minutes, but Munich levelled six minutes later through Robert Lewandowski and dominated the contest through to the interval. “We played very well, especially in the first half after conceding the goal, and dealt with their pressing game well,” Hummels noted.
“But we eased up a little in the second half, and that’s why we started having a few problems,” the centre-back continued. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang crowned his team’s best spell with a 71st-minute goal on the break, but the visitors bounced back a second time. After an almighty 88th-minute penalty box scramble, Joshua Kimmich poked the ball towards goal, where Lukasz Piszczek and keeper Roman Bürki could only help it over the line. Shortly afterwards, FCB hoisted the trophy for a new record sixth time, taking them ahead of five-time winners BVB.
“I’m very happy we’ve won the trophy,” declared Hummels, also identifying another crucial reason to be cheerful. “That was a big improvement compared to our recent matches,” the 28-year-old pointed out. Ulreich agreed with the analysis: “There were times today when we saw the FC Bayern we want to see.”
Ancelotti’s team are heading in the right direction, although there are still clear areas for improvement. “It was the very first game of the season,” said Lewandowski. The match was certainly a confidence-booster and a useful step in terms of cementing a game plan and tactics, but no-one at Bayern is reading too much into it at this early stage.
“We have to keep our foot to the floor,” the striker urged. Hummels concluded in a similar vein: “That was a one-off match. We have a couple of normal weeks of training ahead of us now, so we can put in some good work. Hopefully we’ll be at the level we want to be by the end of August.” The Bundesliga restart at home to Bayer Leverkusen comes at the end of those two weeks of training, and if Hummels & Co continue to heed their coach’s wise advice, Bayern fans can look forward to a thrilling season.