Reds respond well against Stuttgart

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With a 4-1 victory against VfB Stuttgart and seven consecutive wins in the Bundesliga, it’s thumbs up for FC Bayern after their most recent triumph over the sixteenth-placed team from Swabia on Sunday. The record champions carried out their gameplan and stood up to the pressure applied by league leaders Borussia Dortmund, 5-1 winners against Hannover - continuing their momentum in the process.

“In the first half of the season we might have drawn a game like that. It’s a good development,” said a pleased Leon Goretzka. The midfielder did criticise his team for “letting the foot off the gas slightly” after Thiago’s goal in the fifth minute, meaning the visitors were able to get back in the game. Stuttgart scored an equaliser through Anastasios Donis in the 22nd minute and had chances for a second goal. They were only denied by a brilliant Manuel Neuer in the 33rd minute and by the woodwork in the 64th minute.

Setback overcome

“We were completely in control in this game,” said Serge Gnabry, “then Stuttgart’s goal came out of nowhere. Obviously this unsettled us a bit.” But unlike previous home games earlier in the campaign when points were dropped despite Bayern leading, the home team showed the right reaction.

After half-time, substitute Serge Gnabry forced Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner into a 55th minute own goal with his low shot from a tight angle. The game was put to bed by Goretzka in the 71st minute and Robert Lewandowski in the 84th minute, scoring his 99th competitive goal at the Allianz Arena - number 100 will have to wait, as the Pole struck the post with his penalty in the 65th minute.

Kovac chooses the right words at half-time

The improvement in performance in the second half was in large part due to the coach’s half-time team talk. “I used plain language and said we can’t play like that in the second half,” explained the 47-year-old. This message reached the team. “The coach gave us a wake-up call,” Goretzka observed: “It did us a lot of good.” The team were made aware of “what our goals are, and we responded well in the second half,” added the 23-year-old.

The men from Munich want to take this attitude into the title race, as they lead the chasing pack and are six points behind Borussia Dortmund “We'll work tirelessly to try and put pressure on and win our games,” announced Goretzka. Or as Kovac summed up concisely after the “hard-earned” win: “Game won, we’re right in there, it continues!”

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