Munich - It is hardly surprising that FC Bayern München sporting director Matthias Sammer came away from Freiburg on Matchday 4 amidst a cloud of dissatisfaction.
"Ground to make up"
For a self-professed perfectionist, watching his side drop points so early in the campaign was simply unacceptable. So much so that he was still lamenting the performance almost two weeks later.
"It wasn't on the agenda," Sammer said of the surprise 1-1 draw away to SC Freiburg. "It was careless, so it's annoying. The team must be reeling. We've already got ground to make up on Borussia Dortmund."
That they do. BVB's unblemished start to the new campaign puts them two points clear of second-place Bayern who, with Sammer's words fresh in the mind, are determined to set the record straight against Hannover 96 at the weekend.
"It's a shame we dropped two points at Freiburg," said Dutch winger Arjen Robben. "We have to make sure we don't leave ourselves open to the counter [against Hannover]. It's down to us, it's not about BVB. Of course we always want to be number one, but to do so we have to win our games."
Bayern's preparations for their upcoming showdown have not been helped by a number of injuries to key squad members, but Robben is not looking for any sympathy: "It's a shame we've got players missing, but we're a good team. There are no excuses."
Excuses, of course, are something Sammer similarly has little time for. "We're not blind! We can count the mistakes ourselves," he declared with trademark defiance, not to mention an air of discontent, after a Matchday 3 win over 1. FC Nürnberg that prompted further questions as to the efficiency of head coach Pep Guardiola's new system - a debate Sammer swiftly brushed off as "too extreme".
Such rebuttals have made Sammer the battle-hardened stickler he is today. When he speaks, the Bayern players and staff not only listen; they learn. Their unrelenting desire to succeed comes as much from within as from Sammer himself. If he demands three points against Hannover on Matchday 5, that is exactly what he will get.