Hamburg 1-4 Bayern: Gotze at the double as Bavarians bounce back

The midfielder scored twice as Pep Guardiola’s side showed their mettle on the back of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final exit

Mario Gotze scored twice as Bayern Munich bounced back from their European heartbreak with a 4-1 win over struggling Hamburg. 

Bayern went into the contest on the back of a chastening 5-0 aggregate Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid, but Hamburg were unable to capitalise on the visitors’ deflated mood.

Mirko Slomka’s men needed to win to stand any chance of avoiding a bottom-three finish and they produced some encouraging moments early on, but the Bundesliga champions’ quality eventually shone through.

Gotze, who has endured a disappointing first season at Bayern, put his side ahead just after the half-hour mark to round off a delightful move and Thomas Muller added their second 10 minutes after half-time.

Former Borussia Dortmund playmaker Gotze got his second with just over 20 minutes left, before Hakan Calhanoglu pulled one back for Hamburg.

However, any hope of an unlikely comeback from the home side were dashed by Claudio Pizarro, who struck 15 minutes from time to restore Bayern’s three-goal cushion before Jerome Boateng was sent off late on following an altercation with substitute Kerem Demirbay.

Defeat for Hamburg means they can now only finish the season as high as 16th, which would see them face a relegation play-off.

In the wake of Bayern’s humiliating Champions League exit, coach Pep Guardiola defiantly defended his football philosophy, and the German champions showed no sign of abandoning their possession-based game in Hamburg.

But despite their attempt to monopolise the ball, the hosts created the better chances inside the first 20 minutes.

With 11 minutes played, Ivo Ilicevic pounced on Manuel Neuer’s skewed clearance before cleverly flicking the ball over Dante and blasting a half-volley into the side netting.

Highly-rated midfielder Calhanoglu cut in from the left with intent shortly after, but once again Bayern escaped unscathed as the Turkey international fired wide of the right-hand post.

And Bayern duly capitalised on those let-offs in the 32nd minute, as Gotze combined brilliantly with Arjen Robben inside the penalty area, before coolly slotting under Rene Adler.

Hamburg almost levelled just before the break, but Neuer produced a fine save to deny Rafael van der Vaart’s half-volley.

Ominously for Hamburg, Bayern began the second half with renewed focus and after Robben won a corner following a devilish run in towards the right-hand post, they doubled their lead.

Robben delivered the set-piece along the floor to Gotze, and the 21-year-old fired through a crowd of players before Muller flicked it past the helpless Adler.

Gotze got his second of the game in the 69th minute as he brought the ball down nonchalantly in the area before confidently converting a half-volley in from close range.

Hamburg’s hopes of a late comeback were given some encouragement as Calhanoglu rifled into the bottom-right corner from long range three minutes later.

But Pizarro’s audacious over-head kick, which came just two minutes after he replaced Robben, added gloss to the scoreline for Bayern – whose day was marred slightly when Boateng received his marching orders for going head-to-head with Demirbay after the Hamburg man had tried to win a penalty.

Matthaus attacks Guardiola: You cannot expect Bayern to play like Barcelona

The former Germany international also lashed out at the Catalan coach for rotating his squad too much and constantly switching Philipp Lahm between defence and midfield

Lothar Matthaus says that Tuesday night’s “debacle” against Real Madrid was the result of Pep Guardiola’s misguided attempt to get Bayern Munich to play like Barcelona.

The Catalan coach spent four years in charge of the Blaugrana between 2008 and 2012, during which time he revolutionised the game with a possession-orientated style of play which became known as ‘tiki-taka’.

Matthaus, though, says Guardiola has erred in trying to get Bayern to embrace a footballing philosophy that is alien to many of his squad, citing the 4-0 Champions League loss at home to Madrid as a painful case in point.

“You cannot get them play Catalan here,” the former Bayern ace told AC. “You cannot expect Bayern as Barca plays.”

Matthaus also attacked Guardiola’s decision to begin rotating players after Bayern had clinched the Bundesliga title at the end of March, arguing that the constant chopping and changing between domestic and European fixtures affected the Bavarians’ “rhythm”.

“There were too many changes,” the ex-Germany international stated.

“The ship may not have begun to go off course had it not been for such dramatic rotation.”

In addition, Matthaus queried Guardiola’s propensity for constantly moving captain Philipp Lahm between full-back and midfield, arguing that it “contributed to the uncertainty in the team; to a historic result [a 5-0 aggregate] loss to Madrid, a debacle.”

However, Matthaus felt that Guardiola had also been let down by his players, feeling that they had not taken sufficient responsibility for their Champions League capitulation.

“They were not self-critical enough,” he fumed. “If Bayern now lose to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal final, there will be serious talks on Sabener Strasse [Bayern’s headquarters].”

From Ballon d'Or contender to Real flop – Franck Ribery is in 'crisis'

The French winger has suffered a dramatic loss of form in recent months and must get back to his best in time for his nation’s World Cup campaign this summer

When Bayern trudged off the pitch after their 4-0 loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday, they knew they had failed. Failed to raise their game, failed to reach a Champions League final they had been favourites to win and failed to perform.

It was startling. Just three months ago the Bavarians looked unbeatable. They were beating teams for fun, they had world-class, in-form talent in every department and there was no doubt as to who their star was: Franck Ribery.

The Frenchman was in majestic form throughout their treble-winning campaign last term. Every single member of Jupp Heynckes’ team played a part in their success but Ribery was head and shoulders above the rest.

In August, he was rewarded with Uefa’s award for the best player in Europe, beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize, and scored a spectacular goal to help deliver the Super Cup to Bavaria.

And, during the difficult first few weeks of the season under new coach Pep Guardiola, it was Ribery who led Bayern to victory. The team initially struggled to get to grips with a new system and style of play, but their 31-year-old winger’s fine form repeatedly got the Bavarians out of trouble.

As the voting for the Ballon d’Or loomed, he maintained his fine form. He scored a brilliant goal in the 3-1 at Manchester City at the Etihad – still regarded as his side’s best performance of the season – and terrorised countless full-backs in the Bundesliga.

Come January, though, Ronaldo claimed football’s biggest individual award. Ribery, after spending months speaking of how he deserved it more than the Portuguese, was crushed. Since then, his form has dipped dramatically.

Since the turn of the year, he has netted just four goals and, more worryingly, none of them have come in what can be classified as a ‘big’ game. Injury ruined his rhythm and Ribery was unable to recover his form when he returned to the fold for the 1-1 draw with Arsenal after a month out.

For former Bayern captain Oliver Kahn, though, the reason for his demise was not fitness-based. “It’s hard for a sensitive player like him not to win the Ballon d’Or after winning the treble. But you should be able to move on at some stage. It shouldn’t be about Ribery; it should be about Bayern.”

Of course, since Guardiola’s side sealed the Bundesliga back in March, their form has also tailed off radically, with Ribery among the biggest disappointments of the last six weeks. His failings, though, have been made worse by those of his team-mates.

Stifled | Ribery was unable to find a way through Madrid’s defence

A portion of the blame, though, lies with his Catalan coach. When Bayern were a fast, counterattacking machine last term, Ribery had a constant supply of space to run into and he made full use of it.

Now, though, when the Bavarians look to dominate matches and pen opponents back into their own territory, he finds himself stifled, along with many of his team-mates.

The perfect illustration was at the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid sat back and looked to hit Bayern on the counter, starving them of space when the European champions were in possession. How Ribery would have thrived in the space his side left behind them.

Speaking to Goal between the two legs, former midfielder Stefan Effenberg stated his belief that their slump in form came from both Ribery’s poor form and the tactics.

“They lacked a change of pace against Madrid. They want to pass the ball in front of the box like in handball. What’s more, Ribery is not in as great shape as last year. Their game stagnates because of his crisis.”

So, the player who thrives on keeping defenders guessing was playing in team whose gameplan was all too predictable.

His slip has come at the worse time. Borussia Dortmund will fancy their chances of winning the DFB-Pokal, given their superior end-of-season form, and coming away from a season that promised a second straight treble with just one trophy would be a failure by the standards Bayern have set themselves.

Further ahead comes the World Cup and Ribery will be hoping to have recovered his form in time for the tournament in Brazil. France have spent nigh on a decade underachieving and Ribery was still young when they reached the final of the competition eight years ago.

Talented though he was, Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira were the star performers.

Now that he is 31 and the star attraction of Didier Deschamps’ squad, he must deliver on the big stage, or his international career will go down as an addendum of a man who shone for his club, but could never quite do it for his nation.

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Rummenigge backs 'wonderful' Guardiola despite Champions League exit

The Bayern Munich CEO has hit out at crticism of the coach in the last few days and insists their thrashing by Real Madrid should not detract from their successes this season

Bayern Munich should consider themselves fortunate to have “wonderful” coach Pep Guardiola in charge, according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

The former Barcelona boss has come in for criticism this week following the Bundesliga champions’ 5-0 aggregate thashing by Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

However, Bayern CEO Rummenigge believes the reaction has been blown out of proportion and insists the Spaniard will be fully backed in his vision for the club.

“Not one piece of paper can fit between Pep Guardiola and the entirety of Bayern,” he said at Friday’s general meeting, which saw Karl Hopfner confirmed as the club’s new president. “He is a very great, very successful coach, with a clear philosophy and vision, and also a wonderful man. We can all count ourselves fortunate he opted for Bayern.

“There has been a bucketload of malice in the last few days. We have been outstanding with this system and these players this season.

“A defeat in the Champions League does not make it all bad. There is no shame, and certainly no drama.”

Bayern, who sealed the league title in record time this season, can still claim another trophy this term when they face Borussia Dortmund in the final of the DFB Pokal.

Neuer signs Bayern contract extension

The Germany international has extended his deal by three years, keeping him with the Bundesliga champions until June 2019

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has signed a three-year contract extension with the club.

The Germany No.1’s previous deal was set to expire at the end of the 2015-16 season, but the 28-year-old has now committed himself to the Bundesliga champions until June 2019.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed the news at an extraordinary general meeting for the club, in which Karl Hopfner was confirmed as Uli Hoeness’ replacement as president, and paid tribute to the former Schalke goalkeeper’s “wonderful character”.

“Our goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has extended his contract until June 30, 2019,” Rummenigge said at the event on Friday.

“The deal is amazing, great. It is also a sign of his wonderful character, that he said ‘I want to be at Bayern forever.’ I would like to express my gratitude to Manuel Neuer.”

Neuer, who joined from Schalke in 2011 for a fee of €18 million, has made 48 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season.