Bayern learn lessons from stalemate against Augsburg
Niko Kovac stresses every week that FC Bayern get nothing for free in the Bundesliga and that his team have to push to their limits in every match. The 1-1 draw against FC Augsburg confirmed the Bayern coach's words once more. The Swabians made life difficult for the table-toppers, pressing very early, playing man on man across the whole pitch and stifling Munich's passing combinations.
"Augsburg did a very, very good job over 90 minutes. They stifled our build-up play. It wasn't easy to get out of our own half," Kovac praised Tuesday's opponents. "It was a match we haven't had here before," said Arjen Robben, full of respect for Augsburg and their "bold play." But Bayern took on the fight and created presentable chances despite Augsburg's pressing.
Bayern fail to reward themselves
Renato Sanches was the best example. After his strong performance away to Benfica last week he made the starting line-up and turned in another convincing display. The Portuguese shone with energetic dribbles again and again, creating a number of good chances, but he and his team-mates went unrewarded for a long time. "When we got out we failed to convert our chances into goals," added Kovac.
It was only after 47 minutes that they had the ball in the back of the net. After nine fruitless shots in the first half, Robben crowned Bayern's first attack after the interval. The match went according to plan now, with the German record champions in control, but they failed to put the game to bed. Sanches, David Alaba and Franck Ribéry saw their efforts saved by Augsburg netminder Andreas Luthe, who turned in a strong display.
Imminent chance to atone
"We were lacking a bit of coolness, and my counterpart saved well," summarised Manuel Neuer. And as so often, the team that squandered a number of chances conceded a goal towards the end, Felix Götze levelling the scores with five minutes to go. "That wasn't completely undeserved," admitted Robben, referring to Augsburg's committed display.
The Munich men dropped points for the first time this season. But despite the draw "nothing bad happened," commented Neuer. Bayern are still unbeaten this season and will top the table after Matchday 5, regardless of other results. And in light of the current phase of midweek matches, Neuer & Co have opportunities galore to return to winning ways. They will take on Hertha Berlin in just three days, and the lessons from Tuesday might prove helpful in the German capital.
"It's annoying, but we must take on a strong team with high motivation and try to take three points there," the captain looked ahead. "We'll try to do better in Berlin," said Kovac, knowing that Bayern will get nothing for free on Friday either.