Bayern look back on positive first half of season
The stats speak for themselves. It's 77 days since Jupp Heynckes returned to the Bayern dugout, and the record champions' position has changed considerably during that time. When Heynckes took over, the team were five points behind then leaders Borussia Dortmund in the table. Ten games later, they go into the winter break 11 points ahead of second-placed Schalke.
"I have to give a lot of credit to the players," said Heyncke shortly after the final whistle in the DFB Cup last 16 match against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday evening. "We've played ten Bundesliga games and won nine of them. We've won four Champions League matches and two DFB Cup games against Leipzig in extra-time and tonight against Dortmund. That's a phenomenal record," summarised Heynckes in a positive assessment.
Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic also described the 15 wins from 16 games since Heynckes returned as a "great achievement" by the coach and the players in the last two and a half months. The Reds have collected 27 points from a possible 30 in the league, with their only defeat coming at Borussia Mönchengladbach. "What the lads have achieved is really great."
Lifted the mood
"It wasn't a good start to the season for us but we've bounced back well," reflected goalkeeper Sven Ulreich. David Alaba also summed up a "very positive" first half of the campaign. "We're delighted that we've got on the right track and have achieved our targets for this year. It's clear to see the coach is doing a very good job with us," commented the left-back ahead of the Christmas break.
"I think the mood has been lifted a bit in recent weeks," said Thomas Müller, after speaking to fans at the Allianz Arena after the cup game. He later added: "Winning 15 out of 16 games is nice for us. It's something we can look back on favourably. It's fun to play at Bayern most of the time, there's always something going on and it's never dull. The pressure's always there -- and we've coped with it extremely well in recent weeks."
The Bayern players now have 12 days to recover from a hectic few months. "We've put a lot of effort in over the past few weeks and we know the break will do us good," stated Müller. The squad then begin their short preparations for the second half of the season on 2 January. "As ever we have big ambitions for the second half of the season and we're on track for all of them. We're looking positively to the New Year."