Bayern lay down right marker at the right time
The German record champions were in a hurry after the match at Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Arena. Barely a quarter-hour after the final whistle the bulk of the Bayern pros had already signed off for a well-deserved Christmas holiday. The remaining Bavarians hurried to catch the flight to the Bavarian state capital. Bayern had just turned in a strong team display in the top clash with Eintracht Frankfurt, signing off to the winter break with a clear-cut 3-0 victory.
“We laid down an important marker today,” chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in praise of the team after the 11th victory so far this campaign. FC Bayern lie second in the table, six points short of leaders Borussia Dortmund at the midpoint of the season. “We’re on their heels, we’re second in the table, which was our goal before the match. We didn’t let the gap to Dortmund grow. On the contrary, we’ve cut it by two goals,” stressed Rummenigge: “The team did a very good job.”
Lengthy injury roster in Frankfurt
Niko Kovac too was satisfied after the successful finish to the first half of the season. “We got off to a very good start to the season before we had to weather a little barren spell, and we’ve turned in really good displays recently,” the Bayern coach said at his former workplace. Bayern won their fifth victory in a row away to Frankfurt, keeping a clean sheet in four of them. “You can see the team are harmonising better. The last few matches were really good, that’s what marks FC Bayern out.”
Kovac struggled with a lengthy injury roster in the last match of the year away to the DFB Cup holders. Apart from Serge Gnabry (torn muscle) and Renato Sanches, who served a one-match ban, Leon Goretzka and Mats Hummels missed out at short notice. Only four outfield players were on the bench, two of them talents from the reserves. Kovac saw his team struggle against the attack-minded men from Hesse at first, Eintracht creating three chances in the early exchanges.
“In the first 20 minutes we didn’t get a grip on the match as I had planned,” analysed Niko Kovac. “The team did a much better job then, we put into practice what we had planned. Our passing play was quick, with few touches of the ball so that our opponents couldn’t press us.” Franck Ribéry, who had scored the match-winner against RB Leipzig on Wednesday, put Bayern ahead before half-time.
The Bavarians were in control in the second half, allowing hardly any chances. Bayern cleverly protected their lead, Ribéry and Rafinha putting the game to bed in the closing stages. “It was a thrilling match for the spectators. Frankfurt take risks,” analysed Thomas Müller, speaking of “the right marker at the right time.”
The players gave themselves a present two days before Christmas Eve, looking ahead to the second half of the season with confidence. Müller & Co have 13 days to relax and recharge their batteries before travelling to Doha for the winter training camp on 4 January. “We’ve got off to the run we wanted over the last few matches. It’s fun to be in striking distance again. Now it’s about preparing well, doing our homework and keeping up the pressure,” said Müller before wishing everyone a merry Christmas and rushing to the bus.