Bayern lay down marker ahead of crucial phase
The jubiliant celebrations matched the performance after FC Bayern reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga with a resounding 3-0 win over title rivals Union Berlin on Sunday.
Linking arms, Bayern players bounced in unison with fans occupying the Allianz Arena's Südkurve (south stand) to the tune of a red-hot outing on a snowy evening in the Bavarian capital. Although, in truth, first-half goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Kingsley Coman and birthday boy Jamal Musiala (20 today) ensured the party was already well under way.
Mané adds to attacking riches
More heartwarming still, Sadio Mané made his comeback after a lengthy injury lay-off, the 30-year-old adding yet another string to Bayern's attacking bow.
That, along with the performance, won't have gone unnoticed by the competition ahead of a crucial phase in Bayern's season, including their Champions League last-16 second leg against Paris Saint-Germain on 8 March.
Unbridled will to win
To a man, there was no questioning Bayern's hunger to get the job done against Union. They moved the ball with pace, seamlessly shifted possession between the lines and shut down any attempted forays made by the opposition.
Put simply, Bayern were relentless and Union barely had room to breathe. Not even the usually combative and canny visitors could live with the onslaught. The real Bayern was just too much.
"It was a really important victory and a benchmark. We were dominant in all areas," enthused Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann. "We had 10-12 big chances and gave little away. We trained well and talked a lot. We wanted to show what we expect of ourselves."
Union counterpart Urs Fischer, meanwhile, doffed his hat to a "thoroughly deserved" win. "We had no chance today," he admitted. "Bayern were two or three classes above."
Müller praises all-action Bayern
For captain Thomas Müller, Bayern's vim and vigour were key. "We were really lively - for example, the way we managed to break free in attack," he commented. "When the ball went back to [Yann] Sommer, the centre-backs started running, making themselves available. We need to be active like that. We were always on the move and aggressive in the tackle. For me, it was a lot of fun to be so involved. It was a good game."
FC Bayern hit the 300,000-member mark on Sunday:
Now it’s about sustaining performance levels and pulling together to get the desired results. On Saturday, Bayern travel to Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, before facing PSG.
"We have to keep our focus week in, week out," stressed Choupo-Moting. "If we do that, we have the potential to have a lot of success."
Just as well Bayern have their mojo back and have found their optimal operating temperature: red hot.
Reaction to the Union win: