Munich - FC Bayern München may not have been at their irresistible best again in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at home to VfB Stuttgart, but the mood in the Bavarian camp is nevertheless one of quiet confidence that it will not be long before they are firing on all cylinders once more.
Götze: 'I’ll be at 100 per cent soon'
“We know that we need to improve,” said Mario Götze, who opened the scoring for the hosts in the 27th minute. “But for now the important thing is that we picked up all three points. That was our priority and so we can be satisfied.”
Bayern were never seriously threatened by their visitors but despite controlling the majority of the game, the record titleholders laboured to make their dominance count, with the result only truly settled after Franck Ribery stuck the second in the 85th minute. “Of course we have a few injured players but every club has the same situation,” continued the 22-year-old, who famously netted the winner for Germany in the World Cup final in July. “The players we have available are fit and we’ve got a very good side.”
As to his own performance, Götze admitted to flagging in the second half prior to his substitution, but insists he will soon be back to his best: “It comes with time. It’s been a long year and now it’s all starting up again. My fitness will return the more I train and I’m confident I’ll be back at 100 per cent soon.”
Müller: ‘We had a few problems’
Götze has not been alone in tailing off after the break, with Thomas Müller conceding that “the second 45 minutes have been our weak spot recently,” a point highlighted by the fact that both Bundesliga goals Bayern have let in this term have come after half-time. “Of course our [injury] situation could be a bit better, but we’re working as well as we can. The boys have all got to help out and when everyone’s fit again the coach will have a good team.”
And while the attacker, who turned 25 on the day of the game, was “happy” with the “comfortable victory”, he did spot a few areas for improvement: “We controlled the match and got behind their first line of defence well but then we had a few problems in the final third. We lacked a bit of luck in front of goal and were often just a little bit too slow.”
Man City ‘a different kind of opponent’
Those are hardly ideal shortcomings to have ahead of their first UEFA Champions League group stage match of the season, with English Premier League winners Manchester City visiting the Allianz Arena on Wednesday. “They’ll be a completely different kind of opponent,” said Götze. “I think we have an advantage in that it’s a home game for us. We’ll put out a strong team, I’ve got no doubts about that.”
And while Müller warned that “we need to get off to a good start” in the competition, he was optimistic that Bayern would enjoy “a bit more space because Man City will want to take the game to us and perhaps won’t be able to close the gaps as well at the back.” But before then, Müller was eager to put tactics to one side and celebrate his birthday by “going home to relax and enjoy my day.”
Jonathan Stockitt reporting from the Allianz Arena