Thomas Müller’s first start as captain of FC Bayern Munich did not go exactly to plan. “We’re not happy,” said the forward after the 2-2 draw with 1. FSV Mainz 05, “but we have to look ahead.” Indeed, the record German champions do not have much time to dwell on the dropped points in the Bundesliga with a DFB Cup semi-final Klassiker right around the corner and a place in the final in Berlin on the line on Wednesday.
Following elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid, the Bavarians are now looking to reach the final of the cup and secure a double for the campaign. “Alongside the Bundesliga, the DFB Cup is our main aim,” said Müller. Thanks to RB Leipzig’s dropped points against Schalke, Bayern continue to hold an eight-point lead over the promoted side in second place and could in fact secure a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title at the weekend at Wolfsburg.
Until then, Bayern’s focus will be on their other major aim. For the sixth year in succession, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund meet in the DFB Cup. They met in the final last season with Bayern triumphing on penalties, but it’s the semi-final where the two German giants will meet this campaign.
Watch: Highlights of Bayern's 4-1 Klassiker win on Matchday 28:
As both sides look to return to Berlin for a second year in a row, the Munich club will draw fond memories from the last Klassiker just a few weeks ago when they beat their rivals 4-1 at the Allianz Arena. “The last meeting at home was very good, and we want to build on that,” said Mats Hummels. However, the one-time Dortmund defender urged caution for his current club: “We can’t rest on that previous result and believe that it’ll go so well this time too.”
A timely wake-up call
The semi-final clash is also about getting the Champions League elimination out of their system, which Bayern did not quite manage to do against Mainz. “Of course the game on Tuesday is still on our minds, but it shouldn’t be. We are only human though,” stressed Müller after the game on Saturday. The champions are currently on a run of four games without a win in all competitions, in fact only winning one of their last six competitive fixtures.
Watch: Bayern's Thiago reflects on the performance against Mainz on Matchday 30:
Hummels sees the draw with Mainz as a “wake-up call” ahead of the Dortmund clash. “Our body language and toughness wasn’t right,” explained Hummels in reference to the first half against the 05ers. It was a laxness that Bayern cannot show in their knock-out game against Borussia. “We’ve always been mentally there in the big games, so I don’t think we’ll perform like we did in the first half against Mainz when we meet Dortmund on Wednesday,” the world champion stressed.
Boateng and Martinez back
There was good news from Bayern’s Säbener Straße training ground following the Mainz game. Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez both trained on Sunday in a public session with the reserves after not being risked on Saturday. Even David Alaba, who went off early against Mainz with a capsular strain in his left knee, is hopeful of featuring again on Wednesday. The Austria international trained alone on Sunday.
Stand-in captain Müller had a battle cry ahead of the semi-final: “We have to progress. Chests pumped, and show them who we are.” The 27-year-old hopes that cry will see the game against Borussia Dortmund again go the way the record champions envisage.