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FCB confident of cup success in Stuttgart

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FCB confident of cup success in Stuttgart

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:30 pm

The long German winter break is almost at an end, and the restart features two momentous showdowns from a Bayern point of view: Tuesday evening's DFB Cup Round of 16 tie away to VfB Stuttgart, followed three days later by the first fixture of the second half of the Bundesliga programme, when the champions travel to Hamburger SV aiming for top spot in the standings. "We've had a few weeks to warm up for this. We're all delighted it's about to get going again," commented Philipp Lahm.

By a curious irony, Munich's last competitive fixture before the six-and-a-half week mid-season break, a 2-2 draw with VfB in the league, also took place at the Gottlieb-Daimler stadium in Stuttgart. "It's a really tough proposition. Away in Stuttgart is hardly what you'd call easy," commented Bayern boss Jürgen Klinsmann, set to revisit his home town and former club rather earlier than would normally be the case. "But if we want to go all the way to Berlin, these are the hurdles we have to overcome," he added. Lahm regards Tuesday's fixture as a competitive opportunity: "We can send out a signal right from the off."

Tough challenge

For the players, a win-or-bust fixture to open the new footballing year is no bad thing, the coach argued. "The team is well aware we have a very difficult task ahead of us. We know that knockout matches are deadly serious, there's no making amends for mistakes." Slip-ups in the Bundesliga "can be corrected if it goes wrong, but not in the DFB Cup. The lads know that, and we'll go flat out from the very first second," Klinsmann promised.

Just as in the drawn match back in mid-December, Klinsmann is expecting another closely-fought encounter with no quarter given or asked. "It'll be a typical cup fight with the emotions at boiling point. Both sides will be determined to win, and both will give it everything they've got." However, by contrast to the previous meeting, when a stunning Sami Khedira strike earned VfB a point with the final whistle looming, the Bayern boss hopes his team "can do a little better than last time, and come off the field as winners."

Following a smooth and productive mid-season phase, Klinsmann is convinced his men will make a good start to the new footballing year. "The mood is very positive and we've done our homework. We're well prepared and geared up for the match." In another confidence-booster, Franck Ribéry is fit to play on Tuesday after missing the game six weeks ago with a shoulder injury.

Bayern are without Daniel van Buyten (gastroenteritis), Toni Kroos and Lukas Podolski (both unfit after injury). However, Klinsmann feels his side is strong enough "to go to Stuttgart with plenty of confidence, impose our authority, and hopefully win the game." A victory on penalties would be just fine by the coach: "Of course we practise penalties. It can always happen." However, according to Lahm, "I'd prefer us to win in normal time. That's certainly our target."
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