Despite scoring a first-half hat-trick to put FC Bayern München on course for a 3-2 UEFA Champions League victory against SSC Napoli, striker Mario Gomez cut a subdued post-match figure in light of the injury sustained by team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The influential midfielder had to be substituted early in the second half following an awkward collision with Napoli's Gökhan Inler which left him with a suspected broken collarbone. "No matter how bad the injury is, we were obviously all affected by it," said Gomez, clearly more interested in his colleague's wellbeing than his own prolific display.
The 26-year-old's 25-minute treble had given Bayern what looked like a comfortable advantage on home turf, but the first of two headed goals by Federico Fernández provided the visitors with a glimmer of hope shortly before the interval. The subsequent loss of Schweinsteiger upset Bayern's momentum and, after both sides had been reduced to ten men, Fernández's second made for a nervy final ten minutes.
"The team was shocked," Gomez told UEFA.com. "It took us a while to find our feet again and clear our heads.
'Basti' is our midfield motor. He dictates the tempo of the game and you could see that we lost our rhythm without him. It's a bitter one, but we're a top team and if we want to stay that way we'll have to compensate for his absence."
Eventually, Jupp Heynckes' side did regain their composure and defended well to see out what midfielder Toni Kroos considered a well-earned win: "I think it was highly deserved if you look at the game as a whole," he said. "We pressed them high up the pitch in the first half and knocked the ball around well. We can't be expected to beat everyone 5-0 all the time."
Bayern are now three points clear at the Group A summit and can secure a place in the last 16 with a draw in their next home game against eliminated Villarreal CF in three weeks' time. "It's in our hands," said captain Philipp Lahm. "We want to finish top of the group and to do that we need to win our next match."
Meanwhile, Napoli's players were understandably disappointed not to have been rewarded for a brave riposte and are now two points behind next visitors City. "To score two goals against Bayern and not win is hard to take," said midfielder Blerim Dzemaili, before acknowledging the quality of the opposition: "
I think Bayern can reach the final. In my view they're one of the strongest teams and if they play as they have been, they're potentially unbeatable."
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.