Aside from the odd rustle of a newspaper, there was hardly a sound to be heard among the hum of the engines on FC Bayern’s flight back to Munich. Shortly before midnight, only two hours after the final whistle in the bitterly cold Olimp-2 Stadium, Bayern were departing Rostov. The players sat quietly in their seats. All of them were occupied by one question: what exactly went wrong in Rostov?
“We played particularly badly at the back. When you concede three goals against a team like this, you have to look at yourselves,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after the 3-2 defeat to the Russian runners-up. “If you score twice you should win here.” Coach Carlo Ancelotti was “really disappointed with the result and our performance. We didn’t play well.” He took responsibility for the defeat: “I need to get the team back on track as quickly as possible.”It all started so well
Despite the freezing temperatures and highly motivated opponents, the visitors got off to a good start. “We put a lot of effort in, battled hard and deserved to go 1-0 up,” said Mats Hummels after a game “of two parts”. The good first part culminated in an opening goal from Douglas Costa in the 36th minute. “Then unfortunately we invited Rostov back into the game. All of their goals were avoidable, I feel,” described Hummels.
The Russians gladly accepted the invitation and claimed victory through goals from Sardar Azmoun (44), Dmitro Poloz (49) from the penalty spot and Christian Noboa (68). Even Juan Bernat’s 52nd-minute equaliser to make it 2-2 failed to change the course of the match.'Careless in possession'
“We made far too many mistakes tonight against a side that is not exactly one of the top teams in the world,” said Philipp Lahm, bemoaning Bayern's “carelessness in possession. We gifted them the goals. I don’t know why that is but we need to put it right as quickly as possible.”
After two consecutive defeats, Lahm believes that it’s “nothing dramatic”, but the 33 year-old knows FCB need to nip it in the bud. “We need to change things and above all minimise the mistakes. One of our greatest strengths in the last few years has been that we give opponents very few chances. That’s missing at the moment.”Second place in the group
Bayern landed back in Munich at 1:22 on Thursday morning (local time) after a three-and-a-half-hour flight. By that time they knew that Atlético Madrid had won 2-0 in their home game against PSV Eindhoven, and therefore FCB will finish second in the group. Yet for the Bayern players, their thoughts were still on the match in icy Rostov, having imagined a very different outcome despite the adverse conditions. Lahm added: “Regardless of the weather or the conditions in the stadium, FC Bayern should be winning here.”