Pep Guardiola doesn't expect things to get any easier for 2013/14 double winners Bayern after Saturday's 0-0 draw at Hamburg's Imtech Arena
Pep Guardiola doesn't expect things to get any easier for 2013/14 double winners Bayern after Saturday's 0-0 draw at Hamburg's Imtech Arena

Pragmatic Bayern united in call for improvement

Hamburg - FC Bayern München head coach Pep Guardiola has called for his players to knuckle down and get to work following Saturday's goalless draw at Hamburger SV.

'Going to be tough'

The Catalan made three high-profile changes to the side that beat Manchester City FC in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, but neither they nor the decorated calvary could prevent the usually untouchable Bavarians from dropping points for the second time in just four league outings this season.

"It was difficult settling into the game after playing Manchester City in the Champions League," Guardiola admitted after the game. "We were a bit better in the second half, but unfortunately we didn't take our chances. We've got to carry on the work. It's going to be tough for us between now and December."

As ever, Bayern enjoyed more touches of the ball (869) than any of their top-flight contemporaries on Matchday 4, but - indicative of the flagging, post-Champions League legs - their pass completion rate (82.4 per cent) and number of shots on goal (15) weren't quite at the expected gold standard.

'Pretty annoyed'

"A goalless draw is never good enough," bemoaned Thomas Müller, acutely aware his side had just failed to score in a Bundesliga match for the first time in 75 matches. "We weren't at the races in the first half. We wanted it more and improved after the break, but that little bit of luck like we had against Man City in the Champions League was missing. We're pretty frustrated."

The contest hadn't even begun when Bayern's game plan was thrown into a modicum of disarray as Arjen Robben pulled up lame with a thigh strain in the warm-up, prompting Müller's inclusion alongside Claudio Pizarro, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Xherdan Shaqiri. Rolling the dice, Guardiola called on Mario Götze, Robert Lewandowski and Xabi Alonso after the break, but Hamburg - bottom of the table at the start of play - held out.

'They did a good job'

"We started to play far too late in the game," lamented Bayern's 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. "Obviously, playing under a new coach gave Hamburg a lift. Every player had a point to prove and they did a good job. Our build-up play just wasn't up to scratch. I really wanted to win, but we have to make do with the point."

It goes without saying restoring order is now the number one priority for the Bundesliga's wounded giants. Promoted outfit and surprise high fliers SC Paderborn 07 are up next at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night, but if Bayern's self-deprecating and wolfish predilection is anything to go by, there'll be no fairytale 'Party-born' headlines adorning the back pages come Wednesday morning.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge