Saturday’s deserved 4-1 victory away to Hamburger SV was, said Thomas Müller, a “good reaction” to the midweek Champions League exit and delivered fresh momentum for the remaining weeks of the season. “The win was good for our rhythm as we prepare for the cup final in Berlin,” said Pep Guardiola after the 350th away victory in the club's long history.
The challenge in Hamburg was not primarily a physical one. “It was a mental thing,” explained Arjen Robben, “we had to refocus.” That was never going to be easy after the 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid, “which was still somewhere in our bones,” Toni Kroos admitted, “you need a little time to get going.” With the home team desperately fighting to preserve their ever-present status in the top flight it took a good quarter of an hour before FCB’s passing “got better and better,” as Kroos noted.
Mario Götze opened the scoring after 32 minutes following a lovely interchange with Robben as the Reds equalled (and then later broke) the record for away goals in a Bundesliga season. “We basically played well in the first half,” commented provider Robben. Kroos was pleased that Bayern “enjoyed our football” as the men from Munich “continue getting over Tuesday’s match.”Boost for the mood
“That was a step in the right direction,” agreed Manuel Neuer, who made a superb save to deny HSV captain Rafael van der Vaart on 42 minutes. Bayern shifted up a gear or two after the break, with Müller instinctively flicking another Götze shot over the line to make it 2-0 on 55 minutes.
“We wanted to restore our positive mood and we’ve done that well,” ventured Müller. “We need to make sure we get back into our rhythm, in terms of the intensity and also the way we’re feeling.” The feeling became even better on 69 minutes when Götze made it 3-0, with Hakan Calhanoglu’s 72nd-minute consolation failing to spoil the mood.Preparation is key
And then Claudio Pizarro made his grand entrance. The Peruvian added yet more shine to his already sparkling personal record against HSV with his 19th career goal against the northerners, an overhead kick to wrap it up a quarter of an hour from time. “Claudio keeps showing us what a class player and a great guy he is,” enthused Robben, expressing satisfaction with the second-half performance: “We had more space and used it well. We scored some good goals.” The only blot on an otherwise perfect landscape was a late red card for Jérôme Boateng who now misses the final Bundesliga match at home to Stuttgart.
FCB have a clear objective for the meeting with southern foes VfB. “We need a good performance to prepare ourselves for Berlin,” urged Robben, “that’s what we need to focus on now.” Dante thinks it is “important we feel confident enough again to attack, score goals and join forces in defence.” The confidence would be boosted even further by a victory over Stuttgart, said Kroos: “We want to go to Berlin with a good feeling.”