‘Hats off to Martinez’

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For Hasan Salihamidzic, he was “outstanding”, Niko Kovac described his performance as “fantastic” and for Mats Hummels, he was “enormously valuable.” Javi Martinez was exceptional in Bayern’s 0-0 draw in the Round of 16 first leg away to Liverpool, which brought him praise from the management and his team-mates. “If you have to pick somebody out then it’s him,” added Salihamidzic.

The Spaniard was everywhere and made the most challenges for FC Bayern. “Hats off to Martinez for that performance,” said Manuel Neuer simply before adding: “In games like that you often see how he can perform particularly in defence. He did a lot of clearing up, gave everything until the last kick of the game and took every challenge seriously.”

The plan comes off

Exactly that also impressed Hummels: “Javi cleared an awful lot and he gave everything.” Martinez repaid the confidence shown in him by the coach in this important match and the Kovac plan came off completely. “Here at this stadium, it was my intention to have personalities on the pitch who have experienced a lot in football,” the coach revealed - and he also fulfilled a childhood dream for his midfielder.

“As a young boy you dream about playing in this stadium,” said the 30-year-old. Lifted by the special atmosphere at Anfield, Martínez couldn’t be stopped and he played a big part in the performance of his team. The 2013 treble winner was a symbol of FC Bayern’s impressive team performance. That also succeeded in robbing Anfield of some of its magic. “It can be mad here but the crowd never really got going,” noted Hummels.

In addition to praise and slaps on the back, the Basque also earned a new nickname thanks to his passionate commitment. In line with ‘Starke the Octopus", or Leon ‘Goalretzka’, he is now called Javi ‘Maschinez’. The 2010 World Cup winner again showed he’s always where he’s needed and is an absolute team player.

“I always want to help my team. I always give everything on the pitch and if on the bench then I’m ready to come on.” Bayern face important challenges in the coming weeks as they are still in all three competitions. The record champions are well-equipped with an outstanding and impressive Martinez.