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Lahm: We won't give up third place now

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Lahm: We won't give up third place now

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:20 pm

Uli Hoeneß left the Allianz Arena on Sunday evening in good spirits and with a broad grin on his face. "Have a nice evening," the club President called to reporters, all of whom were hoping for a statement in the wake of Bayern's fast and furious 5-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

However, Hoeneß clearly felt he had already said what needed saying - exactly a week earlier in fact, at the news conference announcing the dismissal of Louis van Gaal. "I'm expecting an explosion. I'm expecting the straitjacket the players have been in for months to be taken off," the official said at the time. The 69,000 at the magnificent stadium on Sunday saw those hopes become reality.

"That was the real Bayern," commented Bastian Schweinsteiger following the "festival of football," as director of sport Christian Nerlinger described the meeting with the second-placed Rhineland side. "We sent out a signal today." Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was equally satisfied: "FC Bayern played the way FC Bayern has to play."

In the first match under Van Gaal's former assistant Andries Jonker, the players appeared transformed compared to the nervy group of recent weeks. "He's used the right words and focused on the right areas in training," enthused Nerlinger. The caretaker boss "called for a faster transition from defence to attack, and more aggressive tackling," Nerlinger revealed.

Especially in the first half, the men in red set about the task "with big hearts and unbelievable desire", a delighted Jonker commented, his ideal start in the job crowned by Munich's near-perfect use of their chances. "We scored four goals from five chances. That doesn't happen every match," Thomas Müller mused.

Following Simon Rolfes' seventh-minute own goal, Mario Gomez (28, 44, 45+1) netted all three of his shots at goal to settle the outcome before half-time. "I'm as surprised as the next man that we led Leverkusen 4-0," admitted Jonker. "The first 45 minutes were exactly as we wanted them to be," observed skipper Philipp Lahm. Eren Derdiyok scored a consolation for the visitors on the hour, but Franck Ribéry restored the four-goal advantage 15 minutes from time.

Pressure on Hannover

"The lads fully appreciate the situation we're in. My players understood the task and did what had to be done," commented a satisfied Jonker, who travelled back home to the Netherlands immediately after the match for personal reasons. Before leaving, he expressed delight at his side returning to third spot at Hannover's expense, as the battle for a Champions League place took a welcome twist.

"We're ahead of Hannover now, and the pressure's on them. Our job is to win the last four matches. We'll invest everything we have, just as we did today," declared Jonker. The aim for the four remaining games "is to strengthen our grip on third," said Nerlinger, describing fourth spot as "an end-of-the-world scenario." Lahm had the final word: "We don't intend to give up third place now."
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