'A piece of a puzzle'
Thu, 19/10/17, 12:00
Rejuvenated Bayern back on track
Jupp Heynckes' return to the European stage could not have been better. Four years, four months and 23 days after his last Champions League match - when he won the title with FC Bayern at Wembley - the coach enjoyed a successful Champions League comeback, his men beating Celtic 3-0 on Wednesday evening.
"Champions League matches are special: the whole atmosphere, the vibe. The players know that. Perhaps you're a little more motivated because of it. I'm really enjoying my job," Heynckes declared after the victory over the Bhoys. Bayern lie second in Group B, three points short of Paris Saint-Germain, who have taken maximum points so far.
Heynckes sees room for improvement
"We turned in a good display for long spells and created a myriad of chances. We should have scored far more goals," the 72-year-old said, seeing room for improvement after his second victory in two matches. "In terms of tactics it was better than on Saturday, but there's a lot to do," Heynckes analysed.
The 72,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the Bavarians go straight onto the front foot. Their relentless pressure paid off when captain Thomas Müller set Bayern on their way after the quarter-hour, scoring his 40th goal in Europe's elite club competition. Joshua Kimmich doubled the lead before the half-hour, Mats Hummels closing out the meeting early after the restart. "We turned in a very good display in the first half. You could tell from the start we wanted to win. It wasn't perfect in the second half, but the 3-0 victory is absolutely deserved," said Kimmich.
Bayern play as a team
"When we felt the victory was ours we allowed too much and were sloppy. We have to address and remedy it," Heynckes cautioned: "We thought nothing could happen, but you mustn't ever think so. Our team mustn't allow that to happen. We need to be alert from the first to the last minute, being disciplined in defence. You always have to keep a clean sheet, that's the priority."
Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic praised the team: "They're turning in very good displays, they play as a team. You can tell the players have fun, they defend together, we've improved when it comes to switching play. Everything's improving," according to Salihamidzic, who hastened to add: "It was only a small piece of a puzzle on our way."
Bayern will travel to face Hamburg on Saturday, followed by two matches against Leipzig, the return against Celtic and the encounter with Borussia Dortmund. "We have very, very difficult weeks ahead of us," said Salihamidzic. Arjen Robben, who made his 100th Champions League appearance on Wednesday, concluded: "We've taken another step forward. It was crucial to keep a clean sheet twice in a row. We're on a good path."