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FCB aim to reclaim top spot

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FCB aim to reclaim top spot

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:20 pm

Four days after the 3-2 Champions League victory away to Olympiacos, FC Bayern fight for points in the Bundesliga. The German record champions encounter Union Berlin for the very first time when they entertain the promoted side on Saturday (follow the action in English from 15.30 CEST with our exclusive live updates).

"It's our task to win the match. We want to be league leaders and we must act accordingly, both when in possession and when we don't have the ball," coach Niko Kovač declared ahead of the match against the side lying 14th in the table. After conceding two goals in each of the last five matches, his team must avoid the "many individual mistakes. If we can minimise our opponents' chances and goals, we'll win our matches much more calmly."

The situation

Only two points span the table-toppers and the team in ninth place after Matchday 8. The Bundesliga has never been so tight since the introduction of three points for a win. Bayern failed to go top when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Augsburg last Saturday. The men from Munich aim to beat Union to atone for it, especially as many of their rivals face off in direct duels.

The opponents

Union achieved promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's 50-year history when they beat VfB Stuttgart in the play-off last summer, the 56th club to play in the German top tier. The men from the capital have taken seven points from eight matches, laying down markers when they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 and SC Freiburg 2-0 at home. However, they have only taken one point from three matches on the road so far.

Team news

After Niklas Süle sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last Saturday, world champion Lucas Hernández sustained a partial ligament tear in his right ankle in Piraeus and underwent surgery. Besides the two centre-backs, Bayern will be without Javi Martínez (thigh problem) and Fiete Arp (scaphoid fracture). "We must strike the right balance. We need every player, we mustn't sustain any more injuries," said Kovač, who does not want to "take any risks" regarding Martínez. Serge Gnabry, Michaël Cuisance and Lukas Mai are fit. "We'll have a powerful team," stressed the 48-year-old, announcing he would field "fresh players."

What the coaches say

Niko Kovač: "We're expecting our opponents to be very compact and defend very well, we'll have to come up with solutions. We mustn't casually give away possession, so we're dominant and in control. We might need patience, but we want to show from the start we want to win."

Urs Fischer: "There's always a chance. We must live up to our full potential and push to our limits and beyond. And of course it depends on our opponents. It'll be very difficult if Bayern turn in a top performance. But it also depends on our display: we want to make life as difficult as possible for them. Our plan is to put them under pressure and force mistakes. I think we have a chance if we make it difficult for them."

Top fact

Robert Lewandowski is chasing the next record. The striker has scored on all eight matchdays so far. Only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang boasts a similar streak, achieving this feat in 2015/16. The Gabon international failed to find the net on Matchday 9 back then, so another goal would mean a new record for Lewandowski. If Thomas Müller sets up a goal it would be his 100th Bundesliga assist. Müller would be the first player to achieve a three-digit number of assists since detailed data collection began in 2004/05.
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