Cologne (dpa) – Robert Lewandowski’s target machine took a voluntary break, muscle man Leon Goretzka was held back by his body, and Thomas Müller conjured up the new mentality as a “work pig”.
FC Bayern has taken over the leading group in the Bundesliga, but a week before the top match with the Dortmunders with the same number of points, they faced the high stress early in the season.
“Actually, that’s not our claim that we should tremble here”, Müller said after the lucky 2: 1 (2: 0) to 1. FC Köln, which was still without a win. “We have good footballers who have both speed and technique. But if this doesn’t work out so well, you have to get the working pig out.” When asked about this, Coach Hansi Flick said with a laugh: “I would omit the word in the middle. But in principle that’s okay.”
The second mediocre 2-1 win after the one in Lokomotiv Moscow last Tuesday showed that Bayern currently has a small margin. “Right now we have a game every three or four days, plus a lot of trips with four away games,” said Flick. “That is a psychological and mental burden for the players.” The dilemma was especially clear in the final minutes, when Bayern was unable to improve as usual after Dominick Drexler’s goal (82nd).
But Flick has to think carefully about who to give a break and when. Lewandowski, who scored ten goals in the first five games, almost got revenge in Cologne. “Everything turned out fine in the end,” said Flick. Despite only seven shots on target, at least his tenure. It was remarkable, however, that even the ambitious Lewandowski, according to Flick, quickly “found fun” in the break. “You always expect him to be there one hundred percent and score his goals. It’s a lot of mental tension,” said the coach. “That’s why it was very good for him.”
The colleagues, meanwhile, were amazed at the timeout of the goal guarantee. “I only noticed it during the last practice, when he said, ‘Good luck, guys!'”, Said Müller, “I wondered: what does he mean now?” The performances of Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Joshua Zirkzee ultimately confirmed that the gap behind “Europe’s Footballer of the Year” is huge. Choupo-Moting had only 16 touches in 62 minutes, Lewandowski had 43 during the week. Substitute Zirkzee was left without a shot on goal or assist. Goretzka, who remained ill in Munich, was also sorely missed.
“In the end it was a track win, not a gala and not a glamorous performance,” said Müller, who himself started his 260th Bundesliga victory with Bayern with a hand penalty (13th), setting the record for current board member Oliver Kahn. . His team was also “often a bit provocative and casual”.
So in the end it took “a little too much force,” Flick cautioned. Which does not make the physical problem smaller. After 31 wins in 32 competitive games, a broad phase of weakness would come at the most inopportune moment at the games in Salzburg and Dortmund. That’s why Flick is diminishing its demands on the way it plays in these exhausting weeks. “We are Bayern Munich, we want to be successful,” said the 55-year-old. “The way we play football is usually part of that. And of course we like to see it differently. But you have to involve the overall situation. And in the end it’s all about the bare result.”