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‘Best display of the season’

Solid defence as platform: Hungry FCB send out signal

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Following an exhilarating 4-0 victory in the top Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund, the FC Bayern players joined their fans in long and boisterous celebrations in front of the south stand at the Munich Allianz Arena on Saturday night. The sobering 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt last week was all but forgotten after the record champions’ "best performance of the season" against last term’s runners-up, as CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge emphasised. "The victory was absolutely deserved, and by that margin too.”

"We played outstanding football from the first to the last minute," declared club president Uli Hoeneß, praising a strong all-round display. The home team were superior to the visitors in every respect after a cagey opening phase. "I knew the team had character. They proved today they can be world-class even under pressure," continued Hoeneß. Three days after the 2-0 Champions League victory against Olympiacos Piraeus, the outgoing president spoke of an "outstanding week with two convincing victories."

The basis for the two wins was a strong and stable defensive performance. The men from Munich recently conceded 17 goals in eight games, but, as against Olympiacos, they did not allow a single shot on their own goal against the highly acclaimed Dortmund attack and kept a second clean sheet in a row. The first - and only - Dortmund chance fell to substitute Paco Alcácer in the 69th minute. "We already defended extremely aggressively against Olympiacos," said Thomas Müller. "We were all hungry. You could see we wanted it more."

"When you consider how many goals we’d conceded, it was important that we kept a clean sheet today and defended by going on the attack too, everyone together, tightly organised and with good discipline," coach Hansi Flick explained afterwards. "You can only praise the team. It was sensational today. The aggressiveness we had, and continually defending high up the field. We played the football the spectators want to see. That impressed me a lot."

Striker Robert Lewandowski also praised a disciplined performance from the entire team. "Defensively, we attacked very well from the first minute, applied pressure and won every challenge." And up front, FCB sealed a sixth consecutive home win against BVB as Lewandowski moved onto 16 for the campaign with goals in the 17th and 76th minutes, Serge Gnabry struck after 47 minutes and former Munich defender Mats Hummels scored an 80th-minute own goal.

On the back of five wins, a draw and a defeat from the busy three-week autumn period, FC Bayern now enter the international break, during which Flick will continue to supervise the team. "We’ll now continue calmly with him," Rummenigge explained. “This has been an important week for us. We've moved back into the top places.” And a week before Hoeneß steps down at the Annual General Meeting, the long-serving official was delighted with a "worthy conclusion to my time as president. The team gave me a gift today which couldn’t have been better."

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