Created on 2017-03-05 at 11:15 AM by Redaktion
The Bayern stars were in a good mood during Saturday evening's return trip to Munich. Some played cards, others listened to music, still others watched the highlights of the match. Whatever Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer & Co were doing on the flight after the 3-0 victory away to FC Köln, they did it with a smile.
"We absolutely wanted to extend our lead to seven points," said captain Lahm after the victory over the Rhineland outfit who had not lost at home in almost a year. Midway through the first half Javi Martínez set Bayern on their way to victory, putting an end to Köln's streak. "It boosts our confidence if we take the lead," declared Manuel Neuer: "I feel a lead for Bayern demoralises our opponents. It's hard for them to fight their way back."
'We're a real team'
Bayern refused to ease off after the opener, and at half-time 14 shots, seven corners, 89 percent pass accuracy and more than 57 percent tackles won reflected their dominance. Juan Bernat made it count early into the second half, the second Bayern defender to score on Saturday. "Javi and Juan don't score as often as Robert," said Lahm, pleased for the duo. The Bavarians knocked Köln "out of their stride early on," the skipper explained, "so we could continue with some style."
Martínez too was "very happy" after scoring the opener, his first goal since November 2015. "We're in good form, the players are fired up. We want to fight for all the titles, so we're giving it everything we have." Franck Ribéry, who came on as a sub after recovering from injury and closed out the meeting with the final whistle imminent, commented: "I haven't played 90 minutes so far, but I'm feeling better. I'm happy if I can be with the team and out on the pitch."
'Full throttle' against Arsenal
Their mood is crucial for Bayern's ongoing success. "The atmosphere is very good. We're a real team," a pleased Ribéry declared. "We want to achieve something together, we always want to win. The players on the bench are highly focused too, everybody's ready, even if he plays 20 or 30 minutes. I've always said, if we want to win titles we need every single player," the Frenchman explained. "You can't win every match 3-0. But we have to keep going. We have three very important months ahead of us."
Their next challenge awaits Carlo Ancelotti's troops on Tuesday. Bayern want to wrap up a berth in the Champions League quarter-finals away to Arsenal, intent on extending their 5-1 cushion from the first leg. "We have a big advantage, but Arsenal are dangerous, so we have to go full throttle to win," cautioned Martínez. Lahm demanded: "We have to be highly focused and, most importantly, show Arsenal in the first quarter-hour they can forget the next round." If so, the Reds will be delighted on their next return flight too.