Wounded Bayern hope to bounce back
Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal admitted his side's 2-1 home defeat by Stuttgart in the Bundesliga had hurt them ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash against Manchester United.
Bayern's first-half lead through striker Ivica Olic was cancelled out by goals from Christian Traesch and Ciprian Marica as the hosts slumped to their second consecutive league defeat. Even the second-half introduction of chief playmakers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery could not avert the defeat which later cost Bayern the top spot as Schalke 04's 2-0 win over Leverkusen put them first.
"That (defeat) really hurt," admitted van Gaal whose side were also shocked 2-1 at Frankfurt last weekend. "It is always hard to play against a good defensive side, but Stuttgart held onto the ball well. A defeat always has an influence on preperations for the next game, but it will cost us more energy before the game against Manchester."
Bayern were unlucky to concede the first goal when Traesch's free-kick took a deflection off a defender which wrong-footed Bayern goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt just before half-time.
"Of course this is a setback," admitted goalkeeper Butt as Bayern tired in the second-half having beaten Schalke 1-0 after extra-time on Wednesday in the German Cup semi-final. "We took the lead, then we allowed the game to be taken out of our hands."
Germany defender Philipp Lahm agreed Bayern had let the game slip through their hands through a lack of concentration. "We made life hard for ourselves at the start and didn't concentrate enough, even so we still had the game under control and took the lead," said Lahm.
Former Tottenham boss Christian Gross has transformed Stuttgart from relegation contenders to the verge of a European place in just three months.
"After more than ten years, it was time we won here again," said Gross, who took over from Markus Babbel last December with his side near the bottom three. "I am enormously happy for the team as the first-half had not gone as well as I would have liked. It was an inspired win, but we also kept the opponent away from our goal and defended well."
Stuttgart's Germany striker Cacau said his side had worked hard for the win and ex-Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann kept his side in front with several second-half saves. "We were very focused and very well prepared," said the Brazil-born forward.
"All the players gave everything. We already believed we could win today, we played well in the second-half, even if the first-half was not so good."