"Seal the deal"
Sun, 14/06/20, 14:39
Bayern just one step from title after Gladbach win
Bayern did their job on Saturday evening – just as they have throughout this second half of the season. In a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hansi Flick’s side celebrated their tenth straight league win and underlined their title ambitions in impressive fashion. Second-placed Borussia Dortmund’s last-minute 1-0 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf prevented Bayern from already sealing the title, but they are only delaying the inevitable.
Bayern grind out match point
“We want to wrap up the title as quickly as possible,” emphasised Joshua Kimmich after the final whistle. In just two days’ time, the Reds have their first shot at doing so. If the record champions win at Werder Bremen on Tuesday, the eighth successive title is theirs – regardless of other results. “The target is to win again in Bremen. We want to just seal the deal,” said Flick.
Anyone who saw Bayern’s spirited and convincing display on Saturday will have been left in little doubt that those words will be enacted on the upcoming matchday. The primetime fixture in the Bundesliga lived up to its billing. With Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller suspended and after a gruelling cup semi-final in midweek, Flick had to change things around. As well as four changes to the starting line-up, there was a switch in tactics as Bayern allowed Gladbach to come at them, creating an even contest. Eleven attempts on goal to nine, plus only 50 per cent possession for Bayern, proves this.
No disruption to FCB’s play despite changes
Pure desire: Benjamin Pavard made up his unfortunate own goal by setting up the winning goal for Leon Goretzka.
“Usually we press for 90 minutes, but today we set up more defensively and wanted to be compact,” explained Leon Goretzka, who settled a tight contest with his late winner in the 86th minute. Alongside their undisputed footballing qualities, Bayern demonstrated other important characteristics. “We kept believing until the end,” praised Kimmich. His coach agreed: “The team fought. At 2-1 you saw the desire,” said Flick, who along with “the whole coaching staff was thrilled by the team’s character”.
These particular qualities are currently carrying Bayern through an exhausting end to the season. “It takes its toll when you’re playing every three days. You have to be mentally on it every time,” admitted Serge Gnabry. The recent wins over technically strong opponents in Gladbach and Bayer Leverkusen were not easy. “We’re very proud of that,” added the 24-year-old Germany international.
Müller and Lewandowski set to return
Bayern can expect a different kind of game at relegation-threatened Bremen – but fatigue should not be a factor. “The team will be back at 100 per cent by Tuesday,” promised Flick. The FCB boss will at least have two well-rested stars available again after top goalscorer Lewandowski (30 goals) and top provider Müller (20 assists) both missed Saturday’s game through suspension. “We’ve got two guys coming back who will do us good,” commented Goretzka, looking ahead to the potential last step in the title race. “We obviously want to get it over the line.”
Get the full post-match reaction from Hansi Flick and others here.