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Bayern look to build on opening day win

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Bayern look to build on opening day win

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:50 pm

Gladbach on opening day hasn't always been the best of combinations for Bayern. Take the 1-0 defeat two years ago, for example. Or back in 2001, when the then Champions League holders lost by the same score, albeit away from home. Veteran assistant Hermann Gerland naturally informed new FCB coach Pep Guardiola about the history of the fixture prior to the Spaniard's Bundesliga debut. "Hermann told me Mönchengladbach have been tough opponents for Bayern in recent years - and they were again today," Guardiola said afterwards, breathing a sigh of relief: "So we're satisfied." Everything was fine from a Munich point of view on Friday evening as Guardiola's men opened the 51st Bundesliga season with a 3-1 victory.

"We can be satisfied," agreed Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, "it was a deserved win and that's the most important thing." Results are what matters in the early matches of a new season, continued the FCB chairman. "It brings stability and the team acquires the necessary confidence." Guardiola took a similar view: "We need the first two or three results, to build faith in us and in the coach. Then everyone will be calm."

In this respect, Guardiola's first Bundesliga match fitted the bill, even if not everything functioned perfectly. "Doing things automatically simply needs time, as we've seen again today," observed Philipp Lahm, who felt the display was "decent" after the six-week pre-season under Guardiola. "We need time," the coach emphasised, "it's always hard at the start under a new coach."

"There were certainly signs that it was the first Bundesliga match and that not everything is working yet," commented Manuel Neuer, "but it's a good start, and we want to build on it." Arjen Robben reckoned "the first half-hour was really good." The Dutchman opened the scoring after 12 minutes, with Mario Mandzukic adding the second three minutes later.

"But towards the end of the first half, we saw a few things creep in which we should be doing better, although that's normal in the first match," continued Robben. The half-time score was in fact 2-1, after Dante unluckily put through his own goal five minutes from the break. At this stage of the match and especially in the first quarter hour after the interval, Guardiola criticised his men's pressing ("we gave them too many openings on the break,") and loss of control. As Thomas Müller remarked: "As everyone saw, we let them have too many chances."

The Munich youth product himself could have wrapped it up after 68 minutes but directed his penalty too close to Gladbach keeper Marc-André ter Stegen. "I chose the wrong strategy," lamented Müller, "I should have stuck to my system and simply stared down the keeper." Just a minute later, David Alaba showed how it should be done with a coolly-taken spot-kick to round off the scoring.

It meant Guardiola celebrated a maiden Bundesliga victory. "It was okay for our first match," said the Spaniard, "but I'm certain we'll improve." Rummenigge noted the fact that certain key players have some catching up to do: Dante, Javi Martinez and Luiz Gustavo due to the Confederations Cup, and Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Götze due to injury. "So we'll become stronger over the next few weeks. I think we can be extremely optimistic about the future." And if the past is any guide, that prediction could come true: the only time Bayern have previously beaten Mönchengladbach on opening day, a 3-0 success back in 2005, FCB went on to win the double.
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