"We can't just hide"
Bayern determined after Freiburg draw
Grey clouds hung above Munich during FC Bayern’s training session at the Säbener Straße facility on Sunday morning. They seemed to fit with the current mood of the men from Munich. The 1-1 draw against Freiburg the day before was difficult to take, as it was an unnecessary loss of points. With over 70% possession the record champions dominated both the game and their opponents.
Especially in the early phases of the contest Niko Kovac's team constantly pressed the visitors back to their own penalty box. “It looked like football, like joy, like pressure. But we didn’t score,” thought Hasan Salihamidzic afterwards, especially noting the 26th minute chance, when Robert Lewandowski emerged one on one against Alexander Schwolow but failed to beat the Freiburg keeper.
Temporary relief through Gnabry
“And then it got slower and slower,” the sporting director continued. Bayern did remain dominant, but rarely threatened in the penalty box. “It isn’t easy when the opponents are so compact,” explained Kovac. Nevertheless Serge Gnabry scored a well-deserved goal in the 80th minute after strong individual play. “It was a relief when Serge scored,” admitted Thomas Müller.
“But we didn’t see the game out,” added the frustrated striker. “We could have stopped their cross but we didn’t, then we weren’t outnumbered in the middle, but we gave the opponents a chance and they converted calmly,” continued Müller, offering his view of Lucas Höler’s 89th-minute equaliser. It was Freiburg’s first shot on Manuel Neuer’s goal. “We were punished, even though our opponents only had one shot on target. We weren’t rewarded for our efforts,” summed up the coach.
We will be back
“We should be a bit worried,” said Müller, stressing the missing flair, but he was soon looking to the future. “We need to show our true colours and pull together and sort this out. Our job is to stand our ground and not hide away. We now have two important games, it won’t help us to argue or hesitate,” added the 29-year-old.
On Wednesday the men from Munich can take an important step towards the Champions League last 16 against AEK Athens, then on Saturday they face league leaders Borussia Dortmund, who currently have a four point advantage. It’s helpful for Müller & Co that despite the current difficult phase the fans continue to back the team. At full time on Saturday there were occasional whistles, but these were quickly overwhelmed by vociferous support from the stands.
On Sunday over 600 fans attended the open session at the training ground to support the team despite the poor weather. The players said thank you before training with lots of autographs. “During a phase when things aren’t going so well the fans are even more important,” a happy David Alaba commented as he surveyed the enthusiastic reception. Together with the fans Bayern want to get themselves out of this rut and “be more enthralling. We will be back, you can be sure of that,” promised Müller. And according to the weather forecast the grey clouds are due to leave Munich at some point in the coming week.