Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Coach concerned about ‘anxious,’ ‘worried’ Bayern

AFP, BERLIN

Werder Bremen’s Max Kruse, second right, scores past Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in their Bundesliga match at the Weserstadion in Bremen, Germany, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Carlo Ancelotti admitted Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich looked “anxious and worried” during Saturday’s 2-1 win at relegation-threatened Werder Bremen.

“That was an important win in a difficult game,” the Bayern coach said after his side survived Werder’s second-half onslaught to remain three points clear at the top. “After conceding the goal, we lost our shape, and we were a bit anxious and worried, I have to admit that, but by the end we had the game under control. There are always difficulties during a season.”

It was Bayern’s seventh league win in a row — and a record 13th straight victory against Bremen — thanks to Arjen Robben’s and David Alaba’s first-half goals, but worryingly for Ancelotti, the league leaders lost their shape and composure after Germany striker Max Kruse pulled a goal back for Bremen on 53 minutes.

With Arsenal looming in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 in just over two weeks, Bayern must improve, captain Philipp Lahm said, especially following the previous weekend’s comeback win at SC Freiburg.

“The most important thing is that we are winning, but it is also clear that we can — and must — play better,” Lahm said. “We have some busy weeks coming up, with some real hurdles, and we have to act better than we did in our last two games.”

Scorer Robben was equally unimpressed.

“When you go 2-0 up, it should all be over,” the Dutch veteran said. “They put us under more pressure in the second half when it should have been easier at the back with more room. If we do better, it’ll be three or four nil — there are a few things to improve.”

Bremen striker Kruse said Werder took a leaf out of Freiburg’s book when they put Bayern under pressure before Robert Lewandowski’s goals rescued Munich the previous weekend.

“Freiburg showed that you can play against Bayern and when you trust yourselves, as we did in the second half, things are possible,” Kruse said. “If you want to take points off Bayern, you have to play well for 90 minutes. We put in a good performance, but still took no points.”

Meanwhile, 400km away at the Red Bull Arena, RB Leipzig ended 10-man TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s unbeaten run this season with a 2-1 comeback home win.

Leipzig remained just three points adrift of Bayern.

Hoffenheim were the last undefeated team left in Europe’s top leagues before Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer’s 77th-minute winner dealt them their first loss of the campaign following striker Sandro Wagner’s dismissal.

“I was impressed by the way we didn’t lose our way after going behind,” Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl said. “That was a big point against very good opponents. We were very clever, very flexible in the way we acted.”

“We were the weaker of two good Bundesliga teams, so we deserved to lose,” Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann said. “I’m not happy because we gave them too much time on the ball.”

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