Created on 15-04-2019 at 13:30 PM
Niko Kovac used Sunday's post-match press conference to congratulate Bayern's opponents. It is not a matter of course for a promoted side like Fortuna Düsseldorf to avoid relegation with six matches to go, "so a very big compliment," said the 47-year old, and added with a grin: "Let's see what you can achieve in the next five matches. Perhaps you can do us a favour or two."
Kovac' idea was clear. Fortuna will entertain Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 33 and might be a factor in the fight for the championship title between Bayern and Dortmund. But the Bavarians turned in a convincing display on Sunday, beating Düsseldorf 4-1. "The margin of victory was right," and if Bayern build on the performance, they will not need any help.
Bayern in control
"We're Bundesliga leaders again, and we don't want to give it away," the Bayern coach said. The reigning champions are one point ahead of Dortmund and are holding their destiny in their own hands. "We just have to do our job," declared Niklas Süle. Robert Lewandowski spoke of a "must-win match" against Fortuna, and he and his team-mates stifled any doubts as to who would win on Sunday.
"We dominated the match," the Bayern coach summarised. Kingsley Coman set Bayern on their way to victory with his first-half brace. "We were alert from the start," a satisfied Thomas Müller commented. Serge Gnabry made it three after the restart. It would probably have been the final scoreline if Felix Zwayer had not pointed to the spot after Mats Hummels unintentionally handled in the box. Dodi Lukebakio scored Düsseldorf's consolation goal in the closing stages, but sub Leon Goretzka restored the three-goal lead almost immediately.
Neuer to miss final spurt
"I guess everybody will talk about the penalty. Apart from that it was a good performance," said a satisfied Kovac, who added: "That's what I expect from the team: that we don't allow anything at the back." The men from Munich aim to build on it, but they must shuffle in a decisive position for the next two weeks. Captain Manuel Neuer sustained a muscle fibre tear and will be sidelined for about 14 days.
Kovac stressed Bayern "absolutely trust" Sven Ulreich, who has earned this trust with strong displays this season. "We have two top keepers," commented centre-back Niklas Süle, who thinks Bayern can compensate for Neuer's absence. The German record champions refuse to be knocked out of their stride on their way to the title. "It's up to us, and that's how we have to perform in every match. It's our ambition to win all our remaining matches," demanded Müller.