Given the impressive manner and the margin of his side’s victory at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, Guardiola was more than entitled to a moment of light-heartedness, the Bayern head coach praising his charges for their “great attitude, good positioning and build-up play.”
Lahm’s attacking role
Lahm himself commented that, “it always looks really easy but there’s a lot of hard work and concentration that goes into it. That’s what set us apart today.” The 30-year-old midfielder attributed the first brace of his professional career to the fact that he “definitely played a more attacking role; that was my task today. Xabi Alonso and Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg were more defensive, which meant I was closer to the opposition penalty area.”
Mario Götze likewise struck twice to take his personal tally to six league goals in eight games - a feat he has never before achieved at this stage of a season - and go top of the goalscoring charts. “It feels very nice [to be top scorer],” he told bundesliga.com with a huge grin. “It’s always pleasing to have that kind of personal achievement but the important thing is that we win all three points. After we scored the first two we made the most of the rest of our chances. That’s what was missing a bit in our previous games.”
Surprise at BVB’s toils
That may sound like an odd comment given that Bayern had scored ten goals without reply in their three previous Bundesliga games, but it is indicative of the constant pursuit of perfection that is drilled into everyone at the club. With almost a quarter of the season now played, the defending champions remain four points clear at the top of the standings and 13 ahead of a Borussia Dortmund side supposed to be their main challengers for silverware in 2014/15.
BVB lost their fifth game of the season away to 1. FC Köln on Saturday to fall even further behind, a fact that left Götze “a bit surprised.” Lahm, diplomatic as ever, refused to concede that Jürgen Klopp’s team were out of the title race, but did say that “they are already a long way back. Nobody was expecting them to have such a big gap to make up on us so quickly.” Lahm did, however, identify Borussia Mönchengladbach as potential new rivals due to their “stability - they look like they can be successful throughout the course of the season”.
Bayern travel to Mönchengladbach for a top-of-the-table clash with the Foals on Matchday 9 next weekend, but before then face a tricky task away to AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. The Bavarians currently top Group E on six points after winning both of their matches so far this term, and are eager to extend their advantage over the second-placed Italians to five points.
“We’re in a great position and we don’t want to let that slip - we want to build on our lead,” said Lahm, who will lead his side into an audience with the Pope on Wednesday. With Bayern in this kind of form, however, Roma are the side who are in greater need of Papal intervention.
Jonathan Stockitt reporting from Munich