Nicklas Bendtner underlined the importance of Wolfsburg proving they can compete with Bayern Munich, following their DFL-Supercup triumph over the Bundesliga champions.
Bendtner was instrumental in Wolfsburg’s victory, levelling the match in the 89th minute with a sharp finish before converting the deciding penalty in the shoot-out – arguably the Danish striker’s best performance for the German club since he transferred there in August 2014.
But while Bendtner was happy to lift a trophy, he seemed more focused on what the result meant for Wolfsburg’s Bundesliga chances in 2015-16.
“It’s good that we’ve proven at such an early stage of the season that we can compete with the likes of FC Bayern Munchen,” he said, according to quotes on the Bundesliga’s website.
Bendtner added: “[Bayern are] once again favourites to win the title this season because of the team they have and the history.
“So we have to play the role of challengers and take it game by game and see where we’re at come the end of the season.”
Wolfsburg finished second in the Bundesliga last season – 10 points behind Bayern.
While Bendtner was keen to focus on the whole team’s performance rather than his individual display, the 27-year-old’s goal – just his sixth for Wolfsburg – could not have come at a better time for him personally.
With the arrival of Max Kruse from Borussia Monchengladbach since last season, Bendtner will have more competition to lead the line at Wolfsburg this term – with Bas Dost still the favourite of coach Dieter Hecking.
Having come on in the 70th minute for Dost, Bendtner cancelled out Arjen Robben’s 49th-minute volley with a minute left in regulation time, turning Kevin De Bruyne’s cross past Manuel Neuer at the near post.
But the Dane used the goal to praise Wolfsburg’s stamina and dedication.
“I thought that every player on the pitch believed in what we could achieve for 90 minutes and at the end of the day I think that’s what got us the win,” Bendtner said.
“It was a great game throughout. When I looked at Kevin, he had been running all game and I thought he may not make it until the end because of the amount of ground he covered, but then he produced an extra burst of energy and I could see that he was going to deliver the ball in.
“It was a good goal, but a better team performance.”
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