"We can't play like that on Saturday"
Brussels is a city with two facades: one of modern high-rise buildings and offices, the other of century-old art nouveau architecture. Similarly different were FC Bayern’s performances in the first and second half of their 2-1 win at RSC Anderlecht on Matchday 5 of the Champions League.
In the first 45 minutes, Bayern just couldn’t get into the game and allowed the hosts from the Brussels suburb numerous chances. “We couldn’t get a grip,” said sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. “The team were almost unrecognisable in the first half. The gaps we left were far too big,” wondered Jupp Heynckes. “We made it very difficult for ourselves. We were giving away simple balls,” assessed Marco Friedl, who celebrated his competitive debut on Wednesday. There was only one reason why FCB didn’t concede during this period.
Praise for Ulreich
“We have to thank Sven for keeping the score level,” said a relieved Jérôme Boateng. Ulreich made a number of impressive one-on-one saves to keep the record German champions in the game, continuing his good form of recent weeks. “Ulle has been playing really well for weeks. He gives us great backing,” commented Mats Hummels on the man behind him.
After the break, the Reds showed their good side. Suddenly they were winning more tackles and creating chances. Heynckes had clearly found the right words in the dressing room. Just seven minutes into the second half, Robert Lewandowski put Bayern in control of the game after a nice bit of play. Anderlecht equalised through Sofiane Hanni in the 63rd minute but the visitors recovered quickly and immediately sought to regain the lead – which they eventually did thanks to Corentin Tolisso in the 78th minute.
Three points the main thing
“We were perhaps too careless to start off with. We won 2-1 but we didn’t cover ourselves in glory,” concluded Heynckes. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge also offered his thoughts at the post-match banquet: “I don’t think tonight’s match will go down in the history of world football. But I don’t think that matters.” After all, what counts is the three points.
However the win was soured by injuries to both Thiago and Arjen Robben, who are doubts for this weekend’s match in Mönchengladbach. In order to give the players enough time to recover, Bayern headed straight to the Rhineland from Brussels on Thursday.
“We didn’t play well so it’s good that we’re together again and we can look critically at the performance,” said Boateng. “We face very different opponents on Saturday. We can’t play like that, otherwise it’ll be tough,” continued the 29 year-old. “We need to recover well now and show a different face on Saturday against Gladbach,” demanded Ulreich. Not the one from the first 45 minutes in Brussels.