Following Sunday's 6-1 steamrollering of VfB Stuttgart, Bayern go into the international break as Bundesliga leaders on the maximum six points, with nine goals for and only one against. It is not exaggerating to speak of a perfect start to the new season. “It was a fantastic day for all of us, and I'm going to bed a happy man," declared two-goal Thomas Müller as he left the Allianz Arena in mid-evening.
But for all the justified satisfaction after a second win in two matches, there was no shortage of admonishment and words of warning from the FCB ranks. “Naturally, we're happy to be top of the table. It makes a few things easier, but it won't make us reckless and blind. If you're leading the race two kilometres into a marathon, you don't automatically cross the line first," commented board member for sport Matthias Sammer.
“We have no grounds for euphoria," echoed chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, recalling the 2011/12 campaign when FCB also made “a good start" and were “comfortably top of the league in the autumn. We have every chance of achieving what we want this season. But we shouldn't be patting ourselves on the head, we have to keep it up, simply keep it up!"
The powers that be at the club spoke pointedly of the opening stages of Sunday’s south German showdown, in which the 71,000 crowd – a new record for the recently expanded stadium - saw Stuttgart play the leading role and miss a couple of gilt-edged chances before taking a 25th-minute lead through Martin Harnik. “We were asleep for the first 20 minutes," complained Sammer. “We were too passive and lacked the required aggression," agreed boss Jupp Heynckes.
However, the men in red were suddenly wide awake after going a goal down, “and we reacted in the way we should. From then on, we played outstanding football," continued Heynckes. Müller (32), Toni Kroos (33) and Luiz Gustavo (43) made it 3-1 to Munich before half-time, “and that was a good reaction," agreed Rummenigge.
“In the recent past, we've not recovered many times from going 1-0 down, but today we did just that, and did it really impressively. I see potential, quality and a certain hunger in this team," enthused Bastian Schweinsteiger, who made his first start of the season and looked all but back to his old self as the string-puller in midfield.
A ‘small signal’ to FCB's rivals
Schweinsteiger also added his name to the scoresheet, heading home the last of Bayern's six goals after 51 minutes to round off a storming opening to the second period. Immediately after the restart, Mario Mandzukic (47) and Müller with his second (49) definitively put paid to any slim Stuttgart hopes of a miracle recovery. “We've sent a small signal to the other teams, that it won't be easy to come away from here with points," Mandzukic commented.
The last highlight of the day was the debut as a substitute of new signing Javi Martinez, who took over from Schweinsteiger in defensive midfield after 77 minutes, thus marking his 24th birthday with a maiden appearance for his new club. “This commanding victory in this magnificent setting – I’m incredibly happy," said the young Spaniard, who can now prepare calmly and without undue pressure for the next home match against Mainz in two weeks’ time.