Munich (dpa) – This motivational boost comes at the perfect time for FC Bayern. Robert Lewandowski’s great honor as the new world footballer and Manuel Neuer as the world goalkeeper inspired the German record champion for the spectacular end of the triple year.
“I hope that a few things will be released tonight, that we get everything we can,” said coach Hansi Flick the day before Saturday’s best Bundesliga game (6.30pm / Sky) at league leaders Bayer Leverkusen. “It would be the icing on the cake if we had the three points.”
In the final act of a great sporting year, the Munich team wants to regain the top position in the Bundesliga with a victory among the leaders and clarify the balance of power in German football. “I hope we can switch positions in the table and jump back to first place,” said Lewandowski. “We are still in winning mode and we want to stay in that mode.”
For the self-image of the Super-Bayern, who have been successful in the cup and the Champions League this season, wintering in first place in the Bundesliga is self-evident. “It’s another small final”, said captain Neuer before the duel on the Rhine. The undefeated hosts want to keep fighting against the image of “Vizekusen” that was painfully experienced in the summer.
In the new edition of the cup final in July, when Munich celebrated a 4-2 and double round double goalscorer Lewandowski, even Joshua Kimmich, who has been injured since the beginning of November, could be part of the roster again. Flick left both the midfielder’s return and that of the recently ailing Leon Goretzka open. After Bayern’s great year, Kimmich was selected for the World Cup, along with Lewandowski, Alphonso Davies and Thiago, who had joined Liverpool. “Titles like Rob and Manu’s also have a certain commitment to endorse their achievements,” said Flick.
However, he had a bit of a hard time himself when he finished second behind Liverpool’s master coach Jürgen Klopp in the freestyle to music for coach of the year. The 55-year-old said he was “a little disappointed” but thought it was sporty. “It just goes on for us, we have new goals that we want to achieve.”
Before the duel on the Rhine, Flick has to solve the remaining puzzle in his ensemble, because in the last six league matches the opponent has always taken the lead. The successful Mia-san-Mia formula, Lewandowski in the front and Neuer in the back, decisively helped in the chases to catch up. In these games there was never a Bayern defeat. “Of course we want maximum success,” said Neuer, “and we look forward to Christmas.”
The exhaustion of strength in Munich fuels Leverkusen’s hope of retaining first place in the final exam. “When you are unbeaten for that long, you have a big chest,” said national player Nadiem Amiri before a “great game”. Unlike in the past, the inhabitants of the Rhineland do not present themselves hesitantly, but rather look forward to the practical test with lively and joyfully. “That’s what coaches and players work for, to realize games like this. You have to enjoy big games, then you get energy”, says Bayer coach Peter Bosz.
After the strong year before, when the air ran out in the battle for the first title in 27 years, Leverkusen fearlessly enters the big game. “We want to achieve great things this year,” announced offensive player Leon Bailey. He and Bayern’s Champions League-winning goalscorer Kingsley Coman are currently the Bundesliga winger. “Kingsley Coman is the benchmark right now,” Flick repeated.
After a “proud day for FC Bayern”, as President Herbert Hainer emphasized after Lewandowski, the freestyle of Neuer & Co., the glorious year should definitely end with first place. “It doesn’t matter how many titles I’ve won, it will never be enough,” Lewandowski announced. But the Pole often had a hard time against Leverkusen. He scored only four goals in 17 league games. “We want to keep winning and winning more titles,” Lewandowski announced, who was still hit the day after the election. “I hope our era lasts longer.” But first of all, the victory against Leverkusen should be here.