There were plenty of smiles at the Bayern Munich camp as the club celebrated its 123rd birthday with an open training session on Monday.
This is all happening the day after a big 3-0 statement victory over Union Berlin in the 2022/2023 German Bundesliga.
Everyone was in a good mood in the session after Bayern Munich showed their class again when it really mattered on a snowy Sunday.
They returned to the top of the table on goal difference against Borussia Dortmund, and three points clear of Union Berlin.
The 10-time reigning Bundesliga champions rebounded well from the previous weekend’s second season defeat, 3-2 at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Club Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Oliver Kahn is upbeat that the team will continue on this path in these crucial weeks in the league, the German Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
“That was an important moment in the season —- for everything,” Kahn said post-match.
“There has to be this spirit in the team now, to take on the fight for the German championship and to keep the tension and the focus up.
“Because now comes one important game after the other. And FC Bayern have always been particularly good at these moments.”
Kahn knows from his days as Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper that some pressure can lead to better performance.
Coach Julian Nagelsmann and the players now have one of those rare weeks without mid-week action for training.
Kahn said the unusually close Bundesliga title races was positive because it means that the team has to fight in every game.
He added that this would make the club better prepared for other tasks, including the UEFA Champions League with an upcoming last-16 second leg against star-studded Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
“It’s good when you have to fight in all competitions. That increases the tension and keeps it up. The players who take responsibility show themselves when it’s tight,” Kahn said.
Kahn even saw the positives in some off-the-pitch distractions in recent weeks.
These are the controversy around an interview from their injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the outburst from coach Nagelsmann around the Borussia Mönchengladbach game.
“A little friction isn’t all that bad. If its all harmony here that’s not always the best thing either,” said Kahn.
Their next game is on Saturday in the league at lowly VfB Stuttgart, before they defend a 1-0 lead against PSG at home next week Wednesday.
But forward Thomas Müller has warned: “It was a good step but counts for nothing next week. We have to deliver again.”
A tricky Bundesliga date at Bayer Leverkusen follows on March 19 before the international break.
Right after it comes the date with Borussia Dortmund, likely on March 31 or April 1 because Bayern Munich’s German Cup quarter-final against Freiburg is on April 4.
That would be followed by the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals the next two mid-weeks, provided Bayern Munich make it past PSG, as the season heads to its climactic finale.
By now, Bayern Munich will be hoping for another treble as in 2013 and 2020.
Striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting said after Sunday’s win: “We have the Champions League to come and have to keep our focus in the Bundesliga week in, week out.
“If we do that, we have the potential to have a lot of success.”(NAN)