Bayern Munich celebrated their eighth victory in succession after battling past 1. FC Köln in the Bundesliga. Head coach Hansi Flick fielded a rotated starting-XI, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Leroy Sané and Bouna Sarr filling in for ever-prolific Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman, and Lucas Hernandez. The Billy Goats put up a brave front but the efforts from Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry were enough for the visitors to seal the three points.
Speaking to the press after the match, trainer Hansi Flick and vice-captain Thomas Müller lamented Die Roten’s poor possession giveaways and lack of lethality in front of the net.
“It was a labored victory, especially because we unfortunately missed the chance to score the third goal at the beginning of the second half,” Müller explained (via Goal), perhaps referring to the chance he set up for Gnabry with a right-footed cross at the 50th minute.
“Then anything could have happened until the final whistle,” the German, who converted Bayern’s opener from the spot, told the press. “It wasn’t a glitzy or glamorous performance. We’ll take it as it is.”
In terms of retaining the ball, it wasn’t the best day at the office for Flick’s men. The Reds were dispossessed 13 times and lost possession of the ball on 37 occasions.
“We certainly too often lost the ball carelessly and acted a bit too casually during the game. Cologne lay deep a lot. They did that well,” Müller commented after the match.
Currently on a hot streak, Der Raumdeuter is breaking records whenever he steps on the field. Against Die Geißböcke, he equaled legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn’s record for most Bundesliga wins.
In his previous outing against Lokomotiv Moscow, the treble winner levelled Klaus Augenthaler’s feat for third-most competitive appearances for the Bavarians. If he takes the field in the upcoming UEFA Champions League fixture against FC Red Bull Salzburg, the 2014 World Cup winner will move to second place in the all-time top appearances charts of the club.
“Nevertheless, we could have been a bit more clinical in a couple of situations and got at goal more. The passion was there to take the victory with us,” said Müller, who has been directly involved in eight goals this season (levelling his personal record set in 2012-13, as per Opta).
Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick spoke the same language as his vice captain’s: “It was a deserved win in the end, but we made life difficult for ourselves.”
The visitors covered a season-high total distance of 115 kilometers. In a game where Joshua Kimmich and co. would’ve looked for conserving energy, Markus Gisdol’s men certainly did their best in spoiling the German giants’ plan.
“The game cost us too much energy. We made life difficult for ourselves with our mistakes in the passing game,” rued Flick.
In the end, the 55-year old was “happy with the result, not so much with the game.”
The quintuple winners travelled to Cologne without Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka. Load management was the purpose behind the resting of the duo and Flick is relieved that his important players got the much-needed breather for the forthcoming clash against Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund.
“It all turned out well”, said Flick. “It is important that the players are fresh. We have a very difficult game ahead of us with Salzburg on Tuesday, and on Saturday we go to Dortmund.”