The Star Early Edition

Bay­ern send an em­phatic message


DORT­MUND: Bay­ern Mu­nich coach Jupp Heynckes started a short hol­i­day with his wife and pets yesterday, but not with­out a warn­ing to the rest of the Bun­desliga.

“We’ll play bet­ter and I hope suc­cess­ful foot­ball when our in­jured play­ers re­turn,” the 72-year-old said.

The state­ment came af­ter Bay­ern clin­i­cally beat big ri­vals Borus­sia Dort­mund 3-1 to make it seven wins in seven games in all com­pe­ti­tions since Heynckes took charge again on Oc­to­ber 9 in suc­ces­sion of Carlo Ancelotti.

Bay­ern trailed then lead­ers Dort­mund by five points at the time, and are now six ahead of them. Their Bun­desliga lead go­ing into the in­ter­na­tional break is four points over last sea­son’s run­ners-up RB Leipzig.

Fears are mount­ing that Bay­ern will dom­i­nate in the same way as in Heynckes’ pre­vi­ously last sea­son 2012-13 when they won the Bun­desliga, German Cup and Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle tre­ble.

“It wouldn’t be a prob­lem in our eyes if the race for the cham­pi­onship ti­tle were bor­ing,” de­fender Mats Hum­mels said.

How­ever, as Heynckes pointed out, Bay­ern will be even stronger once all in­jured play­ers have re­turned for the sec­ond half of the sea­son: Thomas Mueller, Franck Ribery, Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng.

“And now, the big bore­dom,” the Sued­deutsche Zeitung head­line read yesterday in ref­er­ence to the ti­tle race, and the Bild pa­per said on its web­site “No ti­tle is safe from Bay­ern.”

Dutch winger Ar­jen Robben swiftly dis­missed any talk about an­other tre­ble but Bay­ern have been im­pres­sive since Heynckes’ ar­rival.

Apart from the Dort­mund game they also pre­vailed over Leipzig twice in the league and cup, and two vic­to­ries over Celtic as­sured them of a last-16 berth in the Cham­pi­ons League with two games to spare.

All these vic­to­ries came al­though Heynckes im­posed a strict train­ing regime af­ter Ancelotti al­legedly was too soft in this area.

“We haven’t only played a lot of matches but also trained a lot and very in­ten­sively. That put a big strain on the play­ers. And that’s why many lately com­plained about mus­cle aches,” Heynckes said.

“It’s amaz­ing how Heynckes has done it in such a short time,” Robben said of the turn­around af­ter Bay­ern had gone win­less in three Bun­desliga games and a 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Ger­main then put an end to Ancelotti’s term.

Robben, who also scored Bay­ern’s 89th-minute win­ner over Dort­mund in the 2013 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal and many other key goals in their du­els, opened the scor­ing this time around to be­come Bay­ern’s best for­eign scorer with 93 goals.

Robert Le­wandowski and David Alaba scored as well for Bay­ern while stut­ter­ing Dort­mund wasted sev­eral chances be­fore get­ting a late con­so­la­tion goal from Marc Bar­tra.

“We turned in an out­stand­ing dis­play against a very good team to­day, es­pe­cially in the first half. You have to ad­mit Dort­mund had very good chances, but Sven Ul­re­ich kept us in the game. The team were 100 per cent mo­ti­vated, we ab­so­lutely wanted to win,” Heynckes said.

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