The results so far this season have been flawless after playing five games in the Bundesliga, the first round of the cup and the first match in the Champions League. Five wins in the first five league matches is even a new record.
But, if you look at it closer, all those wins were obligatory for us, considering we have won four Bundesliga titles in a row and are aiming high again this season.
This sober consideration is important. Only today’s match against Atletico will show us where we currently are with our performances in comparison to our international opponents. And, in the Bundesliga, on our upcoming schedule in the next weeks there are not just teams that have a certain quality within their squads, such as Monchengladbach, Dortmund, Leverkusen or Wolfsburg, but there are teams such as Koln, Frankfurt and Leipzig, too, that have had a fine start to the season. And they will be extremely motivated against Bayern and will do their best. And that’s before mentioning the two derbies against Augsburg, first the cup clash and only three days later the league match.
It’s a task that has to be approached seriously, to maintain our level of play and to keep the focus throughout all those matches, despite playing every three days.
It’s the same every autumn. It’s always about building a base to be successful in March and April, when it really matters. I don’t talk about getting points out of the matches in the first place but it’s more about showing your qualities and stability to gain the confidence that Bayern can once again compete for the three titles and point out to competitors – on a national and international level – that Bayern is a force to be reckoned with when the trophies are handed out. That is our task in the first part of the season.
If you analyse the two Champions League semi-final matches against Atletico from last season you can subjectively conclude a clear dominance by Bayern. We were the stronger team and dominated both games. But when it’s a duel in the last four, or even the last eight, it’s not solely about dominance or the demonstration of quality – it’s also about the result in each and every match. Those matches take place in March and April, when it is the task to convert all those points you have collected into successes and to win the trophy. Atletico took the needed win to do that last year, that’s why we had to congratulate them in the end.
It was a clash of concepts last time. It was attacking football with control and possession in the opponents‘ half against a defensive and calculated approach on the highest level, relying on counter-attacks.
With this concept, Atletico has reached the final twice in recent years. A performance that definitely deserves credit. But they have lost the final twice and therefore have not won the title which matters most for all the big teams. That’s why it is interesting to see whether they can maintain the power and focus which is necessary for their playing style despite those missed opportunities.
We have amended our concept a little bit. Today’s match will be the first indicator of the current Champions League season and a test for our recent performances. We will see whether we are ready for this autumn’s tasks that lie ahead, in the Bundesliga and in the cup, too.