Cool heads in a fiery clash
Wed, 25/10/23, 00:06
Mental strength can be launchpad for more
A cauldron of noise, at one point measuring some 132 decibels, greeted FC Bayern in Istanbul on Champions League Matchday 3.
"I love this kind of atmosphere; it really gets the adrenaline pumping. It was crazy," remarked Kingsley Coman. "That's what football's all about," said Harry Kane. "It was really something," added head coach Thomas Tuchel.
And yet, in the end, it was the Bayern fans who could be heard over the ear-splitting chants of the home crowd. "I give my heart for you, for Bayern I live, I'll never let you down," they chorused following a gutsy 3-1 win.
With maximum points after three games, Bayern are sitting pretty at the top of Group A, a step closer to the knockout rounds. What's more, they're unbeaten in a record-extending 37 group games, whilst winning their last 16 in a row. It was also their eighth successive away victory at this stage - a new competition record.
Make no mistake: it was a special night in Istanbul, not least given the mental strength Bayern had to show to overcome the fervent home faithful and equally impassioned efforts of the Galastasaray players.
Bayern had to be patient as Galatasaray attacked at will, roared on by their fabled 12th man. Coman's opener was cancelled out by a Mauro Icardi penalty, while the Turkish champions registered some 20 attempts on the Bayern goal. Luckily, Sven Ulreich was in fine form between the posts.
Bayern responded in the second half, a few minor tweaks and some incisive attacking football wrestling back the initiative as 'Gala' tired. Goals from Kane and Jamal Musiala sealed the deal. "You have to put it into context: Galatasaray hadn't lost at home for 17 games. It's hard to win in this stadium," Tuchel said of a cool, calm and collected display.
"We showed a reaction in the second half, we're happy about that," added the Bayern tactician. "We deserved to win because we worked incredibly hard and were brilliant in the transition. It was a really strong peformance from us today, especially in attack."
Bayern were also ice-cold when they needed to be. Kane did Kane things, Musiala sparkled. Both players combined to great effect. Above all, though, they were success and hard work personified - the embodiment of what's become known in these parts as the 'Bayern gene'.
Darmstadt and Borussia Dortmund are up next for Bayern in the Bundesliga, either side of a DFB Cup second-round trip to Saarbrücken. And with three more Champions League points in the bag, the mental strength shown in Istanbul can be the platform for even greater things.
Reaction to the Galatasaray win: