Festive atmosphere before the decisive weeks
Bayern contested their first Bundesliga match after wrapping up the German championship title, and the atmosphere at the Allianz Arena was festive on Saturday. The players turned in a commanding display with the fans chanting Deutscher Fußballmeister (German football champions) in the 5-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach. "The match must have been like Christmas and Easter at once for the spectators," a pleased Uli Hoeneß said after the final whistle.
It did not look promising at the beginning. Bayern struggled against the men from the Lower Rhine. Jupp Heynckes made seven changes to his starting XI, which was noticeable at first. "We needed 20 to 25 minutes to find our rhythm," said the coach. Gladbach went straight onto the front foot and took a deserved early lead, Josip Drmic finding the net after eight minutes.
Presents for Heynckes
However, it was the only shot on Sven Ulreich's goal on Saturday. The Munich men heeded their coach's words and attacked. "He wanted us to beat his old friends from Gladbach," revealed Sandro Wagner, who turned the tide, scoring a brace within five minutes before half-time. After the interval Bayern picked up where they left off.
The champions "outplayed" the Foals with strong passing combinations, said Hoeneß. "We took control, my team were very dominant. I'm pleased with the wonderful passing combinations, the chances and of course the goals," commented Heynckes. Thiago, David Alaba and Robert Lewandowski made sure the scoreline reflected the balance of play. "Heynckes has given us and the club so much over the last few months. It's nice that we were able to oblige," a pleased Wagner commented.
Keep up the rhythm
Despite having wrapped up the championship title, the Bavarians gave it everything, for their coach too. Niklas Süle's strong tackle after half-time exemplified their commitment. Gladbach staged a counter, Süle sprinting to catch up with the charging Thorgan Hazard, taking the ball off his toe. "We want to keep up the rhythm. We're hungry, we want to win our matches, otherwise it would be poison for the cup competitions," Heynckes commented on his players' commitment.
Tough tasks await the Bavarians. They are back in action on Tuesday, when they travel to face Leverkusen in the DFB Cup last four. "We'll encounter a strong team, they're in good form," warned Sebastian Rudy. But that goes for Bayern too. On Saturday the fans revved up for the upcoming crackers against Leverkusen and Real Madrid, chanting Super Bayern, super Bayern. Their team's display promises more feasts of football.