Bayern aim to 'keep going' after perfect Saturday
"Derby winners, derby winners – hey, hey," the fans chanted as the FC Bayern players took a lap of honour at the Allianz Arena. The fans had every reason to hail the team after the clear-cut 3-0 victory in the Bavarian derby against FC Nürnberg. Manuel Neuer & Co celebrated with the fans, getting in the mood for a festive evening to follow the victory.
"We're having our Christmas party, we won the match today, so we can relax a little," said Hasan Salihamidzic at Munich's Palais Lenbach. The FCB pros listened to a gospel choir and marvelled at a magician's tricks together with their families and friends, enjoying the festive atmosphere that "couldn't be any better," according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: "The team did everything so that we can have a wonderful party tonight. They won 3-0," the FC Bayern chairman said in his address.
Derby victory before Christmas party
It was hard to disagree with Rummenigge's words after Bayern's dominant display on Saturday afternoon. "We never had the impression Nürnberg could threaten us. We were dominant," captain Neuer agreed. 76 percent possession, 20 shots to Nürnberg's four, 11 corners to one: the numbers show Bayern strangled the visitors with their pressure.
Robert Lewandowski set Bayern on their way, bagging an early brace. He rose high to connect with a Joshua Kimmich cross to open the scoring after eight minutes and was on hand to mop up after a fine Leon Goretzka effort from distance after 26 minutes. Goretzka's curler would have deserved to go in, but the 23-year-old thought of his team: "It's his main task to score the goals, not necessarily mine, so the division is fitting."
Before the hour mark Franck Ribéry netted Bayern's third, rounding off their first Bundesliga home victory since mid-September. "It was important to win at home, we didn't succeed at that for a long time," a relieved Manuel Neuer said after the final whistle. But all Bavarians agreed it was equally important the German record champions did not allow anything at the back. "We kept a clean sheet, that's always important," said Niko Kovac: "We conceded many goals and squandered our lead in the last few matches, especially at home."
Rummenigge's wish for the final spurt
The Bavarians fulfilled their task, earning their right to a festive evening. Kovac awarded his players the day off on Sunday: "We have enough time to regenerate. I know the lads, they won't overdo it," said the 47-year-old. They all know the next important Champions League match against Ajax awaits them on Wednesday, the group victory is at stake.
"We want to keep going," said Goretzka. "Now we go to Amsterdam. We want to finish first in the group, it's important to us," the midfielder added. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge made it even clearer at the Christmas party. "Listen up, lads," the 63-year-old said to the team: "We still have four matches, ideally you'll win all four – and if so we'll have a merry Christmas and good prospects for the new year."