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Subdued Reds reflect on two points dropped

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Subdued Reds reflect on two points dropped

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:15 pm


Bayern extended their lead in the Bundesliga on Saturday and remain within touching distance of topping the standings at Christmas, so the mood in the Reds camp after the last home match of 2007 against MSV Duisburg, and ahead of the team Christmas party at the five-star Palazzo restaurant run by celebrity chef Alfons Schubeck, should have been brimming with festive cheer.

However, the atmosphere was a trifle subdued by the fact the Bavarians had only been able to manage a goalless draw at home to second-from-bottom MSV Duisburg, on a day when results elsewhere meant a win would have seen the leaders seal the unofficial "winter championship".

"Obviously, I'm disappointed with the result today,“ coach Ottmar Hitzfeld freely admitted. "We only have ourselves to blame, and there's no point looking for excuses. We lacked the ideas and creativity to prise open their defence,“ the General complained, dismayed at collecting "one measly point“ on an afternoon where hot pursuers Werder Bremen fell 4-3 in Hanover, but remain just two points off the Reds with one game remaining in the first half of the league programme.

<b>FCB too sluggish</b>

Just as in the majority of Bayern's home matches this term, Hitzfeld's men easily won the stats battle against the visiting Zebras, with 61 percent of the possession, 21 shots to MSV's eight, and 14 corners to the visitors' five. However, superiority on paper again failed to produce goals on the pitch. "We gave it everything we had, we created ten clear-cut chances, but the ball just didn't want to go in,“ lamented centre-half Martin Demichelis. Added Mark van Bommel: "You'll always get a few games like that.“

The 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the home side make a bright start and manufacture two decent openings in the first ten minutes, but Bayern's attacking efforts increasingly foundered on the rock of Duisburg's well-marshalled defence. "I was totally dissatisfied with the first half. We were much too static, we lacked precision on the ball, and too many passes went astray,“ Hitzfeld thundered. "We were much too sluggish, we definitely didn't invest enough.“

<b>Poor first half</b>

Philipp Lahm's assessment was even more blunt. "We slept right through the first half. We didn't concentrate and made too many mistakes. A leading team shouldn't be playing like that. The football we're playing at the moment falls well short of our own expectations,“ the left-back observed. "We all seem to think we can take it easy at the moment.“

Matters improved after the break, as Bayern upped the tempo and camped out in the Duisburg half, but the home side still lacked the killer touch in front of goal. "We got up and at them in the second half, but fortune deserted us at crucial moments," reflected Hitzfeld, who gave his team credit for never giving up. "My players were always determined to win the match.“

<b>Not the end of the world</b>

"Obviously, we can't be happy with a home draw,“ Van Bommel mused, making no secret of his disappointment afterwards, especially as MSV were reduced to ten men after 80 minutes with Mohamadou Idrissou's dismissal. "It's definitely frustrating when you look at the other results,“ the Dutch ace continued, "but it's not the end of the world.“

The players, the coaching staff and the board of directors convened later in the evening for the club Christmas party, where chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge formulated his wish list for the second half of the season: "I'd like to see a return to us thoroughly enjoying our football, more unencumbered and with clear heads, and recovering our early-season form.“ Rummenigge will hardly have been alone in thinking those thoughts.
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