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Dropped points dampen Bayern’s Oktoberfest visit

Berlin (AFP) – Decked in traditional Bavarian dress, Carlo Ancelotti and his Bayern Munich squad were all smiles as they sipped mugs of beer at Oktoberfest on Sunday — despite their week to forget.

Having started the season with seven straight wins under Ancelotti, their new head coach who replaced Pep Guardiola, Bayern’s dream start was soured by their 1-0 Champions League group stage defeat at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The result particularly smarted as it was a fourth straight defeat on Spanish soil having lost to Atletico again, Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively at the semi-final stage of the Champions League for each of the last three seasons.

To make matters worse, Bayern then dropped their first league points of the season with a below-standard second-half display on Saturday in their 1-1 draw with Cologne at the Allianz Arena.

Despite having 21 shots on goal compared to Cologne’s five, Bayern were punished for allowing the tempo drop in the second half as their opponents attacked them on the break.

Joshua Kimmich’s goal just before the interval was cancelled out by Cologne’s Anthony Modeste’s superb second-half volley to put a slight dampener on Sunday’s annual visit to Munich’s Oktoberfest — the world’s biggest beer festival.

“If we take three points, I’ll drink three beers,” boasted Ancelotti before Saturday’s draw, but he sang a different song afterwards.

“We were not as good in our last two games, so of course we are disappointed,” he admitted.

He was however all smiles, as he sipped a single beer, alongside his Canadian wife Mariann Barrena McClay at Sunday’s PR-event when the Bayern squad visited Oktoberfest as guests of a club sponsor.

– All change –

Ancelotti had made seven changes to his starting line-up for the match against Cologne and admitted some of his stars are tired.

But a glance at the Bundesliga table, where Bayern are three points clear, dismisses any notion of a mini-crisis threatening the Bavarian giants.

Their seven straight wins, including 25 goals scored and just one conceded, means they enjoyed the club’s best ever start to a season — bettering even Guardiola’s records during his three-year stay in Munich.     

“We’ve got 16 points, if that is a crisis of some sorts, then we’ll take it,” quipped Germany defender Mats Hummels.

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm echoed his sentiment.

“We’re disappointed because we didn’t want to give away any points at home,” said the ex-Germany captain.

“In both defence and attack we have a lot of work ahead of us, in terms of implementing the new coaching staff’s ideas.

“We are still leading the table. The domination in the Bundesliga is only down to us.” 

His last comment might sound arrogant, but Bayern won the league title with games to spare in each of the last four seasons.

However goalkeeper Manuel Neuer warns that standards must improve after the international break.

He gave his team-mates a wake-up call ahead of their next league game at Eintracht Frankfurt in a fortnight.

“We have to make it clear to opponents that there is nothing to pick up here when we have a home game at the Allianz Arena and are leading 1-0,” said Germany’s new captain.

“One should not be too sure that there is a 95 percent chance that we will be German champions again when we play opponents, who lie in wait for their chances.

“We have to make it clear that there is nothing to win here.

“We didn’t maintain the pace of our attacks in the second-half and showed our opponents what was possible if they counter-attacked us.”

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