Stars vow to 'look hard' at themselves


Incomprehension and dismay were the main emotions in the FCB camp following Sunday's 2-2 draw in Berlin. In a carbon copy of the previous weekend's Wolfsburg clash, the men in red let slip a two-goal lead and were forced to settle for a draw against Hertha BSC. "We're not delivering what's expected of us and we're obviously very disappointed," Thomas Müller stated.

The afternoon in the capital began so well for the reccord champions: Mats Hummels crowned an energetic start with the 10th-minute opener. "And after that we had the game under control and should have extended our lead," a visibly annoyed Hasan Salihamidzic commented. The overdue second goal finally arrived four minutes after the restart when Robert Lewandowski hustled a defender off the ball and fired home at the near post.

Too many errors

"But then we let the game slip out of our control, and that can't be happening to a team like ours," sporting director Salihamidzic continued. Instead of sitting on the two-goal cushion and putting the game to bed, the men from Munich conceded from Hertha's first foray on goal. Berlin's Genki Haraguchi somehow weaved his way past the entire Bayern back line and supplied a perfect assist for Ondrej Duda to tap home in the 51st minute.

"It was a chain reaction of errors that ended up including seven or eight of us," reflected Hummels, "it's a goal we should never have conceded." Not long afterwards Bayern were pegged back by Salomon Kalou's 56th-minute equaliser, a goal again attributable to defensive sloppiness. Following an innocuous free-kick, the Ivorian was suddenly left with only Sven Ulreich to beat, which he did with aplomb.

Break at the right time

"It's a question of concentration," commented caretaker boss  Willy Sagnol, "we have to play with more discipline for the full 90 minutes." After that Bayern were knocked out of their stride and failed to fashion another chance worthy of note. "That was well below par. We created nothing at all in the second half," lamented Joshua Kimmich. Rubbing salt into the wound, Franck Ribery hobbled from the field after sustaining an injury with no other player involved. "We're hoping it's not too bad," Salihamidzic said. A diagnosis is expected at some point on Monday.

The Frenchman left the Olympiastadion on crutches, but his team-mates declined to look for excuses and pointed the finger of blame squarely at themselves. "We the players  need to look very hard at ourselves," demanded stand-in skipper Müller. "It's important we the players pull together and try to operate better as a unit," agreed Kimmich.

For now, the usual large contingent of stars will head off on national team duty. The international break at least offers the opportunity for the management, coaching staff and players to examine the situation and come up with answers. "The next week is slightly different, but then we have a compeltely normal week of training," remarked Hummels, "it's our chance to work on things."