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'Good test before the start of the second half'

Bayern enjoy successful dress rehearsal

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The most recent arrival was the first to hoist the cup on Sunday. Captain Manuel Neuer left the honour of accepting the trophy for the triumph in the Telekom Cup 2019 to Alphonso Davies, who had just made his debut for Bayern. The 4-2 victory on penalties against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the first acid test of the year meant FC Bayern enjoyed a successful dress rehearsal for the Bundesliga reopener away to TSG Hoffenheim next Friday at 2.30pm ET.

Strong nerves from the spot

"It was certainly a good test before the start of the second half of the season next week," said David Alaba, drawing a positive conclusion: "We wanted to be successful here, we've achieved that." The Bavarians' success was in no small part due to their strong nerves. Both the semi-final against Fortuna Düsseldorf and the final against Gladbach ended goalless after 45 minutes, and Alaba & Co prevailed on penalties both times.

"We were quite reliable from the spot," summarised Joshua Kimmich: "The good thing is we kept a clean sheet, the bad thing is we didn't score either." Niko Kovac was not overly critical of his side's display. "It's not easy when your opponents park the bus for 45 minutes," explained the FCB head coach, who gave all his players some minutes on the pitch. Javi Martínez' muscular problem that sidelined him at short notice was the only reason Bayern's starting line-ups were not entirely different.

Make use of the week

Thr 47-year-old admitted his team "squandered a few chances in the first match, but also in the second one." Kovac has gathered insights after the intense training camp in Doha and the acid test in the Telekom Cup: "We must be more effective. We're working on that, and we hope we'll score on Friday," declared Kovac. Bayern have four training sessions until the next league match against Hoffenheim, when points in the race for the championship title are at stake.

Kimmick sees the match as the first true yardstick this year, successful friendlies notwithstanding. "We can only assess where we are after the match on Friday," said the defensive all-rounder. Bayern aim to take "ideally three points," said Neuer, to lay the foundations for a successful second half of the season. "You saw we're very, very hungry for the second half, and that we want to be at the very top at the end of the season," demanded Alaba.

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