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Bayern keen to take control of Zürich tie

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Bayern keen to take control of Zürich tie

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:30 pm

After nearly 50 years in football, Jupp Heynckes is rarely taken by surprise nowadays, but a media question on Tuesday caught him on the hop. How did he feel ahead of his first Champions League match with a German team, a reporter asked. "I hadn't thought of that, but it is actually the case, isn't it?" the coach admitted on the eve of Bayern's Champions League play-off first leg at home to FC Zürich on Wednesday (Live in English from 8.30 pm CET on Web Radio).

"It used to be called the European Champions Cup," continued the 66-year-old, who coached Real Madrid to the continental crown in 1998, six years after the competition was given its current name. The last time he took charge of a German team in the tournament was the season prior to the rebranding, when Bayern were knocked out by semi-final opponents Red Star Belgrade in April 1991. "I've done everything there is to do in football," Heynckes reflected, "but as you've pointed out, this is a totally new challenge."

The double-header against last season's Swiss runners-up is in any case a challenging task for the men from Munich. The season is just a couple of weeks old, "and already it's our first final," Ivica Olic declared. Nor will it be easy, Heynckes admonished: "It's not a position FCB has been in very often. The club has normally qualified automatically for the group stages, but this time we have to negotiate two play-off matches first. The players will have to get stuck in, because I'm expecting two very difficult games."

The players are acutely aware of the vital importance attached to the clash with FCZ. "The worst possible thing for every player at Bayern Munich is not being in the Champions League," confirmed Thomas Müller, warning of a struggle against opponents who have just run into peak form. "You can compare them to Basel last year. It's a tough hurdle and I think it will take a great deal of effort."

Two goal lead desirable, says Lahm

Nevertheless, no-one in the Bayern camp has any doubt that the club will battle through to the group phase. "Every single one of us is totally focused. As always, we'll be perfectly prepared, and we want to play well. We need a decent result to take with us to their place, and I don't think any of us would complain about a 2-0 win," commented club captain Philipp Lahm. Olic is just as convinced of victory: "This is a team FC Bayern must be able to overcome. We're better than them, and we have to prove it over two matches."

Against that, Heynckes urgently warned his men not to underestimate the Swiss outfit. "I was deeply impressed after watching them play Basel," the coach stated. "We're up against a good footballing team. They're creative, they're strong in attack, and they won't just shut up shop at the Allianz Arena." However, the FCB boss is fundamentally confident of success. "The Champions League is the icing on the European football cake, and we naturally want a part of that."

Arjen Robben set to play

Heynckes is set to field a full-strength side, with Arjen Robben reporting fit after back and groin problems. "He's trained very well for the last three days. It was smart not to risk him in Wolfsburg," the coach observed. The Dutchman's recovery paves the way for a first joint appearance by Munich's feared wing pair of Robben and Franck Ribéry.

"Our ambition as FC Bayern is to make progress against opponents like these. It's undoubtedly very important for the club's image," the head coach concluded. Director of sport Christian Nerlinger chose even more forceful words: "If we can't beat them, we're not worth a place in the Champions League."
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