Sat, 19/01/19, 13:15
FC Bayen aim to 'build on this vigour'
"Super Bayern, super Bayern, hey, hey:" Bayern's away faithtul chanted and celebrated with the team after the German record champions picked up where they left off before the winter break. After five victories in a row before Christmas, Niko Kovac' team deservedly won 3-1 away to TSG Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga reopener.
"We saw a great Bundesliga match today. The result is good, we've got off to a good start to the second half of the season. I think we showed today we're primed, that we're there," a pleased Niko Kovac said at the sold-out arena in Sinsheim. His Hoffenheim counterpart Julian Nagelsmann spoke of a "highly deserved" victory for Bayern, who were "superior to us by some levels."
Bayern's ambition was to keep up the pressure on league leaders Borussia Dortmund. In the first half in particular, Kovac' men showed they have taken on their role as hunters. The German record champions were forceful, dominant, strong in tackles and very attack-minded, Leon Goretzka's brace rewarding them before half-time. Kovac called the first 45 minutes "sensational. That was our ambition. That's what we're able to do."
Lewandowski closes it out
The hosts were bolder after the restart, Nico Schulz pulling one back before the hour mark. "We were on tenterhooks then," reported sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. Manuel Neuer denied sub Adam Szalai in the closing stages before Robert Lewandowski put the game to bed, scoring Bayern's third goal to seal their 12th league victory so far.
"In the second half we made the mistake of getting involved in an unnecessary fight. We were two up, you have to be compact then, wait for your chance and make it three, it would have been over then," said Kovac. "The second half was a bit wild," added Joshua Kimmich after his 150th competitive appearance wearing Bayern colours. Kimmich stressed the display in the first half was more important than the victory as such: "We've set a benchmark we want to live up to in the next few matches."
The Bavarians consolidated second place in the table and cut the gap to Dortmund to three points overnight. "We must do our homework. We want to increase the pressure, which is only possible if we win. We still have 16 matchdays to go, we won't give up, we'll hit the gas, we want the Bundesliga to be exciting. We've got off to a good start, and now we hope we can build on this vigour in the next few matches."