Bayern digesting first defeat of the season
The first week of Oktoberfest has not exactly gone as planned for FC Bayern München. After a successful start to the campaign with maximum points from their first four Bundesliga games, Bayern had a win snatched from them by a late equaliser at home to Augsburg in midweek. Then three days later, the record German champions suffered their first defeat in nine competitive games under Niko Kovac, losing 2-0 at Hertha BSC. The Bayern boss described the loss as “annoying, not least because it was avoidable.”
Although it looks like a clear home win for the Berliners on paper, Kovac saw it as a good performance from his side: “When you lose 2-0 with Bayern in Berlin, no one will believe I’m satisfied with the performance. All that was missing was the goals; we didn’t use the many chances we had. That’s the only criticism I have,” explained the 46-year-old.
Statistics prove Bayern’s dominance
With 24 shots to Hertha’s six and 72% possession, the statistics show that Bayern had the better of the game. Apart from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, every player in Kovac’s starting line-up had a shot at goal, but none of them wanted to go in on Friday evening against a packed Hertha backline. “Obviously we’re aware we didn’t take our chances,” said Neuer, while also stressing the positive aspects of the performance. “But the mentality and the way we presented ourselves on the pitch were positive.”
However, it was only after the break that the visitors showed their true colours, as Neuer admitted. “We turned in a different display in the second half,” said the captain. By that point, the hosts were already two goals to the good after Bayern had conceded two avoidable and frustrating goals as well as wasting a number of chances themselves. Vedad Ibisevic put the Berliners 1-0 up from the penalty spot after Jérôme Boateng was too late getting to Salomon Kalou in the box, before Ondrej Duda made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time. “If you make mistakes you get punished, that's the way it is at this level,” summarised Kovac.
Move on and focus on Ajax
The coach does not want to spend too long dwelling on the first defeat of the season, though. “People are clearly going to look at the last two games. I look at all nine, and for the first defeat to come after nine games isn’t that bad, even if it’s not what we expect.” The Reds will be looking to return to the form they showed in the first seven matches when they host Ajax in their first Champions League home game of the season on Tuesday (kick-off 21:00 CEST) – with a little bit more luck in front of goal, too. “Luck comes back around in football, we know that. It’s caught us out in the last two games but we’ll start scoring goals again,” commented Neuer. Preferably that starts on Tuesday evening.