Summary

  • Bayern captain says squad will improve.
  • 'We need to work on Ancelotti's new style.'
  • 'Surprised' Dortmund dropped Hinrunde points.

FC Bayern München may be after the Hinrunde, but captain Philipp Lahm has an ominous warning for their title rivals: Bayern can get even better.

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After some minor teething problems adapting to the arrival of new coach Carlo Ancelotti, the Bayern squad fended off the challenge of RB Leipzig to again secure the honorific Herbstmeisterschaft.

Speaking to Bayern's official website, Lahm acknowledged the squad had had some teething problems adapting to Ancelotti's tweaks in their playing style, but that progress is being made.

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Philipp Lahm (l.) & Co. have taken time to adapt to their new coach.

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On finding a balance… "In the last three years, we have played with a lot of possession. When our opponents had the ball, we wanted to press them aggressively to win it back as soon as possible. Now under Carlo Ancelotti, we play more patiently, but we have to learn that. When opponents had the ball for longer periods, we became a bit uneasy as we weren't used to it. On this mix — sometimes going forward aggressively, sometimes dropping back, letting our opponents have the ball, shutting up shop and then counter-attacking quickly — we still have to work."

Title rivals… "I see the most quality in Dortmund's team, but they dropped some points in the Hinrunde, which surprised me. Leipzig have established themselves at the top. But we're not even halfway through the season, there's still a long way to go. We'll see who's still up there after the next five to ten games."

4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2? "It's good to be able to play in different systems. For part of the Hinrunde, we played with three central midfielders, sometimes with two 6s and a number 10 in front of them, sometimes in a 4-4-2. What works best depends on the opponent and the characteristics of the players who are on the pitch. You have to work on each system in training. If we changed to a three-man defence overnight it would be a problem. We wouldn't be used to it."

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On Carlo Ancelotti's arrival… "With each change of coach, you need some time. But after a few weeks, it's not an issue. We were together in the USA [last summer] and got to know each other well. The bigger challenge for us in the summer was that players were little by little getting back into training after the EUROs."

Pictured here relaxing in Doha, Carlo Ancelotti replaced Pep Guardiola as Bayern coach last summer.

Ancelotti's training sessions… "In training, I haven't seen a big difference. Just like with Pep Guardiola before, the ball is almost always the focus. I think that's also normal nowadays. Carlo Ancelotti has of course brought with him his personality, just as any other coach would. Each coach has a different approach: some are more quiet, others intervene more often in training."

Captain's approach to training… "It's very important for me to always give everything, always move forward, always want to win every game in training. Nothing has changed with that. I also see that as part of my role as captain. What is different today are the recovery sessions: there are more of them. At the start of my career, young players getting a massage was frowned upon by older players. Now, with a certain age, my body needs looking after."

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