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Chairman: Let's continue steadfastly on our way

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Chairman: Let's continue steadfastly on our way

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:40 pm

It's not exactly often that Bayern find themselves 5-0 down after 67 minutes - and it's almost unimaginable in a match at the Allianz Arena. But it actually did happen, more than four years ago, in the first fixture of the Oktoberfest period in 2008. The opponents were Werder Bremen, and it went on to finish 5-2 to the men in green. Fast forward to the present day, and Bayern are on a superb winning run. FCB have conceded a miserly seven goals in almost 2,000 minutes of play in the Bundesliga this term, and are looking to extend their impressive record with a home win against the current Bremen team on Saturday (Live in English from 3.30 pm CET on FCB.tv Web Radio).

"We simply need to continue steadfastly on our way. We mustn't let up, we mustn't look over our shoulders, and we mustn't look from side to side. We have to keep looking forward, with total concentration and great determination," urged Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Three points at home on Saturday would at least maintain the "wonderful" lead over Dortmund and Leverkusen, 15 and 16 points back respectively. "And I'm convinced we'll do it," the chairman said.

Bayern versus Bremen is a meeting between the league leaders, unbeaten in their last 19 games, and the side treading water in 11th. Seemingly an easy game to call, but Jupp Heynckes was his usual wary self on Friday: "They have many creative strengths and they're good on the ball," the FCB coach warned, "let's be cautious, because Bremen have enormous footballing potential. And we know full well no-one's handing out gifts in this league."

Apropos gifts: prior to kick-off on Saturday, Heynckes will be presented with a bouquet to mark his 1,000th Bundesliga match as coach and player. "It's a remarkable total," the 67-year-old himself acknowledged, "but I'm not particularly bothered by it, because it's all coming thick and fast at the moment."

A mere four days after a scintillating Champions League display away to Arsenal in North London, "we have to turn our attention back to the Bundesliga," said Heynckes, refusing to discuss next Wednesday's mouth-watering DFB Cup quarter-final against Dortmund. "Our focus is exclusively on Bremen," the boss declared. But who will the veteran supremo name in his line-up for Saturday?

Rib and Rob to start, Boateng fit

Holger Badstuber (cruciate) is unavailable, but Heynckes otherwise picks from a full-strength squad, and is likely to indulge in a spot of rotation, "to prevent the team getting into a rut or becoming tired." The coach will closely watch the final pre-match training session and talk to some of his men before deciding who might benefit from a rest. Jerome Boateng and Rafinha have both shaken off the flu and could feature.

One decision has already been taken, in that Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry will start on the flanks. "Arjen has proved he's unbelievably ambitious and in good physical shape," said Heynckes, "and naturally, Franck will play." The starting formation will comprise a unit "full of harmony and which all fits together."

Ekici and Petersen probable for Werder

The visitors are without captain Clemens Fritz and defender Sokratis, both victims of the flu epidemic sweeping Germany. However, Aaron Hunt and Theodor Gebre Selassie return to the squad. "We have to break up the play and not let them get going. It's also important we don't just park the bus and let them come at us," said long-serving Werder boss Thomas Schaaf, whose team have recently "lacked a little consistency," Heynckes observed.

Two former FCB players could well make the Bremen team: Mehmet Ekici, who joined Bayern at the age of 11 and represented the club at every youth level, and Nils Petersen, on loan to Bremen for the season and up to 11 goals in the league so far. There is next to no danger that Munich will underestimate the northerners, concluded Rummenigge, "because the team comes across as very focused and motivated, and that's the right attitude."
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