Munich - Tuesday night's bruising bout may have been ruled a split decision, but FC Bayern Munich emerged from the Freiburg canvas unanimous in their desire to make amends in the UEFA Super Cup.
"That little something"
"It's a cup Bayern have yet to win and one we want to get our hands on," said captain Philipp Lahm of the latest prize on offer for last season's quadruple winners.
The Bayern skipper himself spent much of Tuesday's contest on the bench as Pep Guardiola made no less than seven changes to the side that battled past 1. FC Nürnberg on Matchday 3. Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mario Mandzukic, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba joined their leader on the sidelines, with Rafinha, Daniel van Buyten, Claudio Pizarro, Diego Contento, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller and Xherdan Shaqiri coming in.
Rotation served the 22-time Bundesliga champions exceptionally well last term and Lahm refused to ascribe Tuesday's disappointing result to the side's first real nip-tuck treatment of the campaign. "The team selection is definitely not a valid excuse," he explained. "The players who started the match today are all quality players. We've been missing that little something in the last few games and today we were punished for it."
Said penance came by way of Nicolas Höfler's 86th-minute equaliser, which could leave Bayern two points off the pace should the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Bayer 04 Leverkusen pick up wins at the weekend, but rather than lament what might have been, head coach Guardiola instead chose to focus on the positives of a side still very much in a phase of tactical transition.
"I am the coach," affirmed Guardiola. "It's my responsibility to pick the team. I don' know what might have happened if [Arjen] Robben and [Franck] Ribery were playing. We played very well. Our game took another step forwards. That's what matters."
"Score to settle"
As far as gauging his team's progress goes, Guardiola does not have to wait long. After missing out on his first piece of Bayern silverware in the in late July, the Catalan strategist will on Friday look to set the record straight against Finale dahoam killjoys Chelsea FC.
"We have a little score to settle, even if we cannot fully erase the memory of losing the Champions League final,” declared Müller. "We'll do everything we can to win the trophy." A wounded red giant is one thing, but a vengeful Bundesliga heavyweight is something altogether different.