BERLIN (Reuters) – Champions Bayern Munich are desperate for a domestic league and Cup double to rescue their season after becoming the third Bundesliga club to lose to an English side in the Champions League Round of 16.
The Bavarians were beaten 3-1 at home by Liverpool on Wednesday to see their hopes of European glory dashed, and followed Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 out of the competition after they were eliminated by Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City respectively.
In total the three Bundesliga clubs scored a mere three goals over the three two-legged ties against their English opponents, letting in 17 in the process as German football conceded defeat to the Premier League.
While the direct comparison has prompted questions on German football’s international standing following also their shock first round World Cup exit last year, Bayern coach Niko Kovac will only occupy himself with how his team can win the domestic silverware on offer.
Bayern, who have won 12 of their last 13 league games, host Mainz 05 on Sunday, having taken over the top on goal difference from Borussia Dortmund, who only weeks ago were leading by seven points.
“There are still two titles up for grabs,” Kovac said. “We are leading in the Bundesliga and are still in the mix in the German Cup.”
For Kovac a domestic double would be a personal success in a turbulent first season at Bayern as they chase a record-extending seventh consecutive league title.
With little transfer investment in the summer and none in the winter, Kovac was forced to make do with an ageing Bayern squad, the oldest in the league, which was screaming for an overhaul.
“Our aim is to win both competitions. We have every right to be disappointed by our Champions League exit but we have to clear our heads by Sunday and look ahead,” Kovac said.
With Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller dropped from the Germany squad for next week’s internationals and out to prove their worth, there is enough motivation going round for the champions.
Dortmund, who suffered their own 4-0 aggregate loss to Tottenham in Europe, travel to Hertha Berlin hoping to build on last week’s victory over VfB Stuttgart and end their erratic run.
The last time Dortmund won two league matches in a row was back in January.
Third-placed RB Leipzig, 11 points behind on 46, will look to hold on to their spot when they take on embattled Schalke 04, fresh from their 7-0 demolition — 10-2 on aggregate — by Manchester City on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)