Munich - Just as they had ten days earlier, FC Bayern Munich came away from FC Augsburg on Tuesday night with a hard-fought 2-0 victory, only this time with the added bonus of a place in the DFB Cup quarter-finals.
Such is the quality and confidence currently running through Jupp Heynckes' squad that not even Franck Ribery's 47th-minute sending-off could knock them out of their stride as they recorded their 21st win in 27 competitive games this term (including the Supercup).
"I had the feeling we were much better organised with ten men and we had some good chances on the counterattack," said Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. "I hope Augsburg stay in the league. They should be up around tenth. I'm amazed they're so far down."
His sentiments were echoed by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer: "Augsburg did well, just like they did in the Bundesliga. We had to play with a man less in the second half and we made life hard for ourselves, so it was good we were already ahead. A cup fight is always a little bit hectic".
While coach Heynckes professed himself to be "very satisfied overall" with his side's haul from the first half of the season, claiming "it doesn't get better than this", the veteran tactician was unhappy with his team's performance on the night. "The players' minds were already elsewhere," he said of the impending winter break and chance to unwind. "We weren't breaking well, but we've had a lot of games and have to accept the odd weak display."
Nevertheless, goals in either half from Mario Gomez and Xherdan Shaqiri helped the Münchner grind out the required result, with a place in the quarter-finals their reward. With further fixtures to follow on Wednesday evening, Bayern's opponent in the last eight is not yet known, but with the Bavarians in such imperious form heading into the festive break, you cannot help but feel for Greuther Fürth, their first adversaries after when the Bundesliga resumes in January.
Jonathan Stockitt in Munich