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'Flawless display'

Martínez shines in midfield and up front

Javi Martínez' goal after the half-hour set Bayern on their way in the Bundesliga restart away to Bayer Leverkusen. The defensive all-rounder tapped in like a centre-forward. FC Bayern won the first competitive fixture of the year 3-1, impressively taking an important step towards a sixth German championship title in a row.

Not only the way Martínez scored, but also the way he celebrated the goal was remarkable. The 29-year-old ran towards the corner flag with his right thumb in his mouth before celebrating with his team-mates. "My wife is pregnant again, she's in the fourth month. We'll have a new Martínez in June," revealed the Spain international after the match.

Martínez was one of the key players in the first competitive fixture after the winter break, and not only because of his goal. The European and world champion turned in a convincing display in his main task too, displaying commitment and determination in defensive midfield. He played a major role in Leverkusen's lack of chances.

Flawless display

"Javi is a very important player, he's superb in defensive midfield," keeper Sven Ulreich praised his team-mate, elaborating on his qualities: "He often closes down space and wins lots of tackles, his headers up front are dangerous, we always benefit from that. I'm glad he turned in such a good display today."

Jupp Heynckes too was full of praise: "It was a flawless display today," said the 72-year-old, who moved Martínez from central defence to defensive midfield when he returned to FCB last October. The switch began to show after a few weeks.

"He was a little tired towards the end of the first half of the season," explained Heynckes. A switch from central defence to defensive midfield is "enormous at this level," according to the FCB coach. Martínez has benefited from the winter break. He has recovered and "trained well" in the last ten days, said Heynckes. Martínez is at a very high fitness level again, and the Spaniard is buoyed by the prospect of his son Luca not being alone for much longer.

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