Bremen - It has taken him until Matchday 25 in the campaign to make his Bundesliga debut, but Pepe Reina could hardly have enjoyed a better one for FC Bayern München in their ruthless 4-0 win at SV Werder Bremen on Saturday.
FC Bayern München
Regular No 1 Manuel Neuer was rested but certainly not missed, as 32-year-old Reina produced a commanding display between the posts to help the Reds go 14 points clear at the top, on a day that also saw captain Philipp Lahm return from a long-term injury,
rounds up the post-match reaction from the Weser-Stadion...
"We were expecting a really tough game like it was at the end, but the mentality, the approach and the character of the team was really good today and we're delighted with the three points. I knew yesterday [that I'd be playing]. I was always ready to get my opportunity it was a pleasure to play alongside players like these. There was a little gap in the net [before kick-off] and I didn't want that in my first game! But the linesman saw it and we were able to sort it out."
"It was great for me to be back out on the pitch again after such a long period on the sidelines. I have the team to thank for that because if the game had been a bit tighter I don't think I'd have come on. We have to win our games and it'll be good when everyone starts returning to action again after the international break. That'll give the coach a lot of options and it's also important that the players come back. We hope to stay in the running for all competitions for a long time yet. That'll mean we have a lot of games, which means it'll be good to have everyone back. It's part and parcel of the game for some players to be dissatisfied if they're not playing, but we're at a top team and we need a big squad. We've seen that over the last few weeks and we saw it again today."
"[For my first goal] It all happened really quickly with the rebound and I'm happy I was able to hit it the way I wanted to. It was a really nice goal and I'll probably watch it a few times back later on the couch (laughs). Bayern vs. Gladbach [on Matchday 26] was always a great game. They're always an awkward team to play against and in the last few years they've always given us a good game. We'll take a few days to recover and then we'll start focusing on it."
"It was a very competitive game. Bremen didn't make it easy for us and the pitch got worse as the game went on, so it didn't look that pretty and not that much football was played. They showed what they've been doing for the last few weeks and that's playing aggressively, but I think we rose to the challenge and we're happy to have won here. Under [Viktor Skripnik] they never give up in games and they got at us early today. They'll certainly win a few more matches between now and the end of the season. Gladbach will be a very tough game. We drew 0-0 earlier in the season, but we're at home this time and there's some unfinished business there. We want to go into the international break with a win and build on our lead at the top of the table."
"A really good victory today. Well done to the whole team, but especially to Pepe Reina, who played his first game. Great keeper!"
"Obviously the result is disappointing. I think we showed them too much respect in the first half. We started well but then we were too timid. We improved in the second half and it was a shame that we couldn't get a consolation goal because maybe we could have been able to get something from the game, but they executed their counterattacks superbly and deserved to win, no question. I think a lot of people thought the result was done and dusted when they made it 2-0. The scoreline is tough on us - I don't think our performance deserved that. [David Alaba] congratulated me at the end, but he's taking great free-kicks at the moment. He had good positions to take them from!"
"Their individual class showed through in the end. Bayern have got so much quality and they played very well. We tried to compete with them by being aggressive and we did that well for long spells, but they're just so clinical in front of goal. Unfortunately the Bundesliga is totally unpredictable and Köln will be a really, really tough game next week."
"I had the impression that we were scared. In the second half we were braver in our challenges."
"We were quite deep in the first half but we had chances. In the second half we played with a bit more belief - that was what the coach had said at half-time - and we tried to play good football. The result is disappointing in the end, but if you see how we've developed since the last time we played them in Munich, I think we've developed well."