Bay­ern live up to FC Hollywood nick­name

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FOOTBALL -

BER­LIN: Bay­ern Mu­nich are again liv­ing up to their FC Hollywood tag, as a com­bi­na­tion of lack­lus­ter per­for­mances, pub­lic dis­agree­ments and talk of a suc­ces­sor to coach Carlo Ancelotti has pro­vided an abun­dance of early-sea­son drama.

Bay­ern’s start to the sea­son has not been par­tic­u­larly bad with two wins and a de­feat in the Bun­desliga, and a 3-0 win over An­der­lecht in the Cham­pi­ons League Tues­day.

But ex­pec­ta­tions are so high at the Bavar­ian club that even a mi­nor slip-up, or fail­ure to score five or six goals against sup­pos­edly in­fe­rior op­po­nents, causes head­lines.

For­ward Thomas Mueller was the first to wash his laun­dry in pub­lic when he com­plained about be­ing left out of the start­ing lineup for the match against Werder Bre­men three weeks ago.

Then it was Robert Le­wandowski’s turn. In a mag­a­zine in­ter­view, the Pol­ish for­ward crit­i­cized Bay­ern’s re­fusal to match the huge trans­fer fees splashed out by the likes of Paris St. Ger­main and Barcelona.

“If you want to com­pete at the top, you need to have th­ese qual­ity play­ers,” he said.

Le­wandowski was crit­i­cized by Bay­ern’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Karl-Heinz Rum­menigge, who in turn was ques­tioned by club pres­i­dent Uli Hoe­ness.

Rum­menigge, like Hoe­ness a for­mer Bay­ern player, said the club had a “se­ri­ous and suc­cess­ful phi­los­o­phy that has brought us big suc­cess.” He re­gret­ted Le­wandowski’s com­ments.

But Hoe­ness felt that play­ers should be able to think for them­selves and sug­gested that Rum­menigge had over­re­acted.

In the midst of all that, Bay­ern were hum­bled 2-0 by Hof­fen­heim last Satur­day, in­creas­ing the pres­sure on for­mer Real Madrid and Chelsea coach Ancelotti whose first sea­son was re­garded as un­der­whelm­ing de­spite re­tain­ing the Bun­desliga.

For­mer Bay­ern Mu­nich mid­fielder Mario Basler said in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view that his sources had told him that Ancelotti would cut short his con­tract in Jan­uary and go to work in China – some­thing the Ital­ian quickly brushed aside.

“I pre­fer to speak about se­ri­ous things, but that’s a joke,” he said.

The win over An­der­lecht, al­though com­fort­able, failed to ease the pres­sure as Bay­ern’s per­for­mance was con­sid­ered in­suf­fi­cient against op­po­nents who had Sven Kums sent off after 10 min­utes.

For­ward Ar­jen Robben ad­mit­ted it was not good enough. “We have to ques­tion our­selves. We have to talk about this and we have to im­prove it,” he said.

Hof­fen­heim’s coach Ju­lian Nagels­mann in­ad­ver­tently stirred things up fur­ther by giv­ing a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view where he said that coach­ing Bay­ern would make him even hap­pier than he was now and that his wife and chil­dren were plan­ning to move to Mu­nich.

As Ger­man me­dia talked of flir­ta­tion, Nagels­mann said in a sub­se­quent state­ment that he had been mis­in­ter­preted and was not after Ancelotti’s job.

He said he had merely been talk­ing about a life­long am­bi­tion.

In the midst of the in­trigue, the home match with Mainz 05 Satur­day seems al­most in­ci­den­tal.

Bay­ern have given lack­lus­ter per­for­mances of late.

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