Battling performance takes Bayern up to third
Hansi Flick came into the press conference at Freiburg late on Wednesday night with a smile on his face. It was clear there was a weight off the shoulders of the 54-year-old after his team won a 3-1 thriller against SC Freiburg with two goals in added time to securethe three points Before the game, Flick predicted a match "with highs and lows" -- "and finally the climax with a victory."
Zirkzee to the rescue in added time
The fact the Bayern coach had to experience an emotional rollercoaster was not on the cards for much of the game. After an impressive first half, FCB were deservedly 1-0 up at half-time thanks to Robert Lewandowski's 19th goal of the season on 16 minutes. Freiburg coach Christian Streich feared that Bayern would "thrash us", such was the superiority of the visitors but a post stood in the way of Thomas Müller (7') and a Freiburg defender managed to clear a Philippe Coutinho effort off the line (2').
Brilliant substitution for the key goal: Hansi Flick brought on the scorer of the decisive second goal, Joshua Zirkzee, just two minutes before his strike.
"We didn't score early on again," criticised Hasan Salihamidzic. Instead, FCB "eased off and handed over control at times," added the sporting director, allowing Freiburg back into the game. The payback was an equaliser scored by Vincenzo Grifo in the middle of the second half (59') -- and it looked like the record champions would have to settle for one point on the night before substitute Joshua Zirkzee (90+2') and Serge Gnabry (90+5') propelled FCB to victory with two goals that took Bayern from fifth to third place in the table.
Crucial win in race for top spot
"It was a bit lucky to win the game in virtually the last-minute with two late goals," Flick said later. But he and his team were happy to accept it after the bad luck in the last couple of weeks against Leverkusen and Mönchengladbach. The coach was keen to pay his players a compliment about the "way they fought" and that they "believed in the win right to the end." Flick was satisfied that "we got our just rewards."
The players shared that assessment. According to David Alaba, the last-minute win "shows what the spirit is like within the team." Manuel Neuer describes the situation with an incident just before the end of the 90 minutes. The Bayern players got together during an injury break: "We urged each other on and believed we would win," said the Bayern captain who said: "It was down to willpower."
Ready for the last home game against Wolfsburg
And that could be important for the rest of the season. "We have big targets," said Alaba, "so we have to win games like that." With 30 points, the titleholders are four points behind the two leading teams RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach (both on 34). FCB are ready to pounce and are looking to close the gap even more before Christmas in the home game against VfL Wolfsburg if the rivals slip up. Flick talked about the final run-in of the year after the final whistle at Freiburg: "We have to recover now to make sure we are fit for the game against Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Further post-match reaction 👇🏻