Bayern Munich booked a berth in the pre-quarters of the 2018-’19 Champions League after thrashing Benfica 5-1 on Tuesday. Braces from Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski, along with a sublime goal from Franck Ribéry in the 76th minute, helped Bayern seal the deal.
The Dutchman had great things to say about the match. Although, he thinks that it would’ve been better if they were able to keep a clean sheet: (via TZ)
We simply implemented things today and played at a high tempo. We were closed and compact on defense. We would have been happy to keep a clean sheet, for Manu. But 5-1 is really good.
Two weeks ago, there were allegations that four players — Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels — were not entirely happy under Niko Kovač. Either the allegation is not completely true or things might’ve changed in Munich. Robben feels really happy for the coach after Tuesday’s win over Benfica. He commented:
We all know how it is in football. That the coach comes under criticism in such a situation. The connection with him is so good. We win together, we lose together. He’s one of us. I was very happy for him; he deserved it. He busts his ass everyday. I’m really happy for him.
Failing to defend the lead until the final whistle was something that troubled the Bavarians over the past two weeks. Kovač is happy about the team finally being rewarded for their endeavour:
We finally built a lead and defended it well over 90 minutes, with the exception of the first minute after the break. We quickly bridged the midfield. The team finally was rewarded for the effort.
The coach is obviously irked about how the previous matches ended up and is hoping to repeat Tuesday’s performance in the upcoming matches. He stated:
Of course it’s very irritating. We seemingly need the big games. Against the supposedly small teams, we seemingly think things will go automatically. I hope that we can confirm the performance from today in the coming weeks.
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry stole the show on Tuesday. After their previous lackluster performances, it was a good comeback for the duo. Just like every single Bayern fan around the world, Kovač hopes to see more of it in the future:
I wish they were five to eight years younger. You can see what quality they still possess. You see it with every pass that they play. They made the difference today, and I hope that they continue to do so in the coming weeks and months.
Kovač thinks that the past three unsuccessful matches have led to Bayern having a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the league this season:
I think from game to game. It’ll be hard in the coming weeks. We all know that. It gives us a headache that we did not win the last three league games and couldn’t maintain leads until full time. We cannot think about first place in the table now.