Bayern "will take positives forward" into Liverpool match
There's a saying that dress rehearsals can be a bit bumpy, which then bodes well for the actual performance. Such superstition is not, however, what the Bavarians can take away from their hard-fought 3-2 victory at FC Augsburg on Friday evening. The "workman-like victory", as Niko Kovac called it, showed the Reds' qualities that will also be important in the crunch Champions League tie at Liverpool this Tuesday: Thomas Müller described it as "displaying the right willpower", while David Alaba said they'd "shown great determination."
For the record champions suffered their first setback of this Bavarian neighbourhood battle practically with the kick-off. After just 13 seconds, Leon Goretzka unfortunately knocked the ball into his own net - it was the fastest own goal in Bundesliga history. "We very quickly went behind, but we still tried to play our own game," Alaba explained. His teammate on the front left of the Bayern attack, Kingsley Coman, provided a quick response with an equaliser in the 17th minute. But the hosts went in front again "out of nowhere" (Alaba) through Dong-Won Ji in the 23rd minute.
Hard blows dealt with well
So twice the visitors were "caught cold" in the initial phase, as Manuel Neuer put it, but they didn't let it put them off their stride. Three minutes into first-half stoppage time, the strong Coman was able to equalise again, paving the way for the away win in the derby. In his analysis, Bayern captain Neuer was clear: "Getting the 2-2 before the break was crucial to getting us back on track to go on to win this game here." After the interval, the visitors were the only team in the game and after taking the lead with an Alaba strike in the 53rd minute, they held on till the end.
"My team came back from behind twice, dominated the second half on scoring opportunities, and we deserved to win the game," Kovac said with satisfaction, but he also knew that his team would have to improve by Tuesday. "We'll have to be better in Liverpool. But when you play there, there's a whole different focus," the 47-year-old promised and immediately provided an explanation as to why it was difficult to play against fifteenth-placed Augsburg. "Maybe one or two of us were already thinking about Liverpool. That's can't be ruled out and isn't good, but it’s human."
„"We also know we managed to turn the game around twice. And we now have to direct this positive energy towards Tuesday. That'll be a very difficult away game."”
But Kovac and his team will definitely draw the right conclusions from the dress rehearsal: "We have to change defensively. Liverpool is an attacking team and will have more scoring opportunities than Augsburg," Neuer warned with regard to the difficult away game on the Anfield Road. But for the match winner, in the end, the positives in Bayern's game carried more weight. "We wanted to take many positive things with us and now we can. Now we're fully focusing on Liverpool," Alaba stressed.