FC Bayern München’s hard-earned 2-0 triumph over VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday afternoon was anything but a routine win – and the delighted reactions from the players come the final whistle showed it.
Speaking in the mixed zone afterwards, Bayern captain Philipp Lahm analysed the match, reflected on Franck Ribery’s form and looked ahead to a busy week of midweek fixtures.
Question: Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller just walked past and said “that was a big win”. How important was this victory in Wolfsburg?
Lahm: Obviously it was important, especially as we played in the Champions League during the week. After such a difficult match it wasn’t easy to play here; there are easier away games. We’ve got a decisive week coming up with a home fixture against Mainz on Wednesday and then der Klassiker in Dortmund. That’s why this win was especially important.
Question: Frank Ribery’s appearance as a substitute brought greater impetus into the match. How important is it for Bayern that he regains full fitness?
Lahm: Once again the opposition had to cover a lot of ground against us, so normally at some point they start to tire. That’s when it’s important for substitutes to come on and make a decisive impact. And we’re lucky enough to have an excellent bench. The players who come on always help us, not just Franck. It’s important to remember that he was injured for a very long time. He just needs more time. He played very well when he came on against Darmstadt last Saturday. During the week against Juventus he only made a brief appearance, but he did well when he came on. It’s hugely important for him to get back into a rhythm after such a long time on the sidelines.
Question: Another winger, Kingsley Coman, scored today. In the attacking department, Bayern have everyone fit and available at the moment…
Lahm: Yes, it’s fantastic. We’re in the middle of an englische Woche so it’s important that as many players as possible come back from their injuries. Up front we have a lot of very good options. Now we just need our defenders back. Medhi Benatia has been back in training for a while now. We’ve got decisive weeks coming up and we need every player we’ve got.
Question: As you mentioned, there are midweek fixtures coming up. Can Bayern wrap up the title race by winning every game?
Lahm: I think it will be a decisive week in the title race. If we manage to win both of our next games then we can definitely talk about the championship, but we still have a long way to go. We’ve still got a few games after this week, but if we win our next two then it’ll be very difficult to catch us. But first we need to beat Mainz and Dortmund. We can take a huge step forward.
Question: Have you started working out when you could win the title by?
Lahm: No, at the moment our aim is to travel to Dortmund with an eight-point lead. We want to win there, which would give us an 11-point advantage and that would be a key moment in deciding the championship race.
Question: After the final whistle here Bayern’s celebrations seemed to be especially emotional. Pep Guardiola hugged virtually all of his players and it almost looked like Bayern had won the title. Why was this win so important?
Lahm: We’re happy whenever we win games. We were delighted with our victory in Augsburg too. This year Wolfsburg aren’t title rivals anymore but they are in the Champions League Round of 16, so they’re not a bad team. We’ve struggled a lot away from home, including here in Wolfsburg, which is why it was important to win this one.
Question: Mario Götze is fit again but he was an unused substitute once more today. What do you make of his current situation?
Lahm: It’s difficult for every player who’s been out for a long time. But I’m not worried about Mario. He’s an outstanding footballer and is very professional. It’s just a matter of time.
Alexander Barklage reporting from Wolfsburg