Two weeks remain before Bayern's first competitive fixture of the season, the DFB Cup first round trip to Regensburg. In the course of the weekend LIGA total! Cup in Hamburg, coach Jupp Heynckes gained valuable insights into the work and planning still required in the 14 days prior to the clash with the promoted second division club.
However, the tournament in Hamburg also led to an increase in the club’s injury concerns, with Mario Gomez set to undergo surgery on his right ankle this week, and Bastian Schweinsteiger aggravating a minor ankle problem of his own. Following Sunday's victory over hosts HSV in the third-place play-off, Heynckes took reporters’ questions in the Mixed Zone at the Imtech Arena.
Jupp Heynckes on…
…Saturday's match against Bremen:
“We didn't expect more from the game against Bremen, because the players were tired from so many training sessions and other commitments. The internationals only resumed training two weeks ago, in which they've been through 11 workouts, four friendlies, the LIGA total! Cup, and the trip to China. We had an incredible number of marketing commitments. The players are only human, and we all saw how tough it was for them against Bremen."
…the third-place play-off against Hamburg:
“We made a much better impression against a good Hamburg side. We ran hard and enjoyed ourselves. Overall, we had the greater share of the play and plenty of chances, although our final pass wasn't precise enough and our crossing wasn't that good, on the occasions we broke through down the flanks. We wobbled a little at the back to start with, but it was better later on. I liked the look of us going forward. Overall, I'm very satisfied."
…where FCB can improve:
“Our attacking play is marked by imagination, intelligence and skill. However, we have to work harder as a team in defence, which we did outstandingly well in the first third of last season. We'll be working on that almost every day. Once the players are rested and have restored their energy levels, it'll be much easier to train this area and make it happen in matches. We have three weeks to go until the league restart, and two weeks until the cup tie. We'll use the time to run into form and take ourselves back to the top."
…the injury to Bastian Schweinsteiger:
“It's not too bad, there's no problem. He went over on his ankle but not badly, so it's a minor sprain. We substituted him as a precaution. He'll probably spend a couple of days on sports rehab and then he'll rejoin the squad."
…the loss of Mario Gomez:
“It's a big setback, but okay, we'll survive. We already have three serious injuries, to David Alaba, Diego Contento and Rafinha, who are out for some time. Now Mario has joined them. You see how important it was for us to sign players in that position. You always have to allow for injuries or other things, and it's happened again. It's good we have such quality in the squad."
…the alternatives to Gomez:
“Mario Mandzukic has shown he can hold his own as a lone striker. Claudio Pizarro is another excellent striker, who scored 18 goals and laid on another 11 last year. I'm not especially worried about it."
…the depth in the FCB squad:
“The new players, and especially the youngsters we've brought in, have not only convinced me, they've made me really excited at times. I’m thinking about Emre Can performing so well at left-back, and good form from Mitchell Weiser and Mario Mandzukic too. And I'm not at all surprised about Xherdan Shaqiri. These are players who are good for us, make us stronger and give us more potential."
…FCB youth product Emre Can:
“In daily training, I discern a player’s latent ability, which we have to tease out. Making the first team at Bayern Munich and becoming a top footballer requires a huge amount of talent, but also huge professionalism. At 18, the lad is a magnificent talent. He played well against Bremen, and was even very good in the unfamiliar left-back position against Hamburg. He did really well, which can only be good for us. He'll get playing time this season."