Three points and homework for FCB
Robert Lewandowski could not have had a better start to the second half of the season: first match of the year, first victory, first trophy. His brace wrapped up three points for FCB in the 2-1 victory over Hamburg on Friday evening. The FCB striker then left the Volksparkstadion with a golden trophy after being named Polish sportsperson of the year by Bravo Sport magazine.
But the Reds cannot rest on last year's laurels, as Lewandowski & Co were aware before the hard-fought victory over Hamburg. “We knew we'd really have to work today,” the 27-year-old commented after the match in which the final scoreline put everything else in the shade: “The main thing was to return to Munich with three points after the first match of the year.”
'Room for improvement'
“We're pleased to have won and shown character. But of course we'll have to play better,” commented sporting director Matthias Sammer. FCB defended well and allowed hardly any chances, declared captain Philipp Lahm, but “we're not yet where we want to be in our attacking efforts. There's still a lot to improve.”
FCB were their customary dominant selves over 90 minutes, but had hardly any chances in the first half. A penalty awarded to Thomas Müller 36 minutes into the contest led to FCB's first shot on goal and simultaneously the opener by Lewandowski. “In terms of our overall play there's certainly room for improvement. But we played as a team,” summarised Müller.
The team spirit was particularly evident after Hamburg's surprise equaliser. Aaron Hunt's floated free-kick suddenly ended up beyond Neuer and in the back of the net; even TV replays could not clarify whether the DFL was right to declare it an own-goal by Xabi Alonso. Bayern reacted with defiance and once again it was Lewandowski who put the German record champions in the lead, deflecting a Müller effort past HSV keeper Rene Adler with his toe-end on the hour.
'Improve every match'
“We've been effective today,” commented the match-winner, admitting he had “a little luck” when he made it two. “They all count,” said Arjen Robben, who was happy about three “very, very important” points. “At the moment the main thing is that we've won,” declared Pep Guardiola, who knew that his troops would return to Munich with some homework to do.
“Of course we're not at our best yet. That's perfectly normal in the first match after the winter break,” commented the FCB head coach and announced “step by step” improvements towards peak form in the two weeks before the next phase of midweek matches. “We know we aren't yet in our best form, but I'm happy,” said Müller, setting the course for the next few weeks: “We want to improve with every match.”