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Bundesliga Matchday 12
  • 17' Niklas Süle
  • 20' Thomas Müller
  • 58' Thomas Müller
FC Bayern Munich
3 : 3
(2:1)
Fortuna Düsseldorf
  • 44' Dodi Lukebakio
  • 77' Dodi Lukebakio
  • 90'+3 Dodi Lukebakio
  • 17' Niklas Süle
  • 20' Thomas Müller
  • 58' Thomas Müller
  • 44' Dodi Lukebakio
  • 77' Dodi Lukebakio
  • 90'+3 Dodi Lukebakio
Home match against Düsseldorf

The chase is on

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The final international break of the year is finally over and FC Bayern’s pursuit can begin. The Munich men currently sit in fifth place in the table, seven points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund. “We have to win,” stated Niko Kovac ahead of Saturday’s home encounter with Fortuna Düsseldorf (live ticker and Webradio commentary from 15:30 CET on fcbayern.com).

“We have to overtake the teams above us,” continued the Reds boss. “We need to keep nibbling away and get enough points between now and the winter break to go into the second half of the season in a good position.” Eight fixtures in 29 days are on the programme before Christmas, six of them in the Bundesliga. “Now’s the time for the team to get back on the path to success and try to make up the ground we’ve lost,” declared CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who’s hoping for a “pre-Christmas success story”.

Robben close to return

It’s therefore welcome news that all of Bayern’s internationals have returned from their travels without any major injuries. On top of that, Arjen Robben, who’s missed the last couple of games with a knee problem, could be in contention again. He’ll be assessed after the final training session but Thiago and Kingsley Coman, who have made big steps in their recoveries in recent days, won’t be involved along with Corentin Tolisso and James Rodríguez.

With the personnel situation easing somewhat at Bayern, Kovac has a clear game plan for the weekend. “We need to score an early goal to settle ourselves and then add another.” To do that, it’s likely they’ll need to overcome a Fortuna bulwark. “They’re a promoted team and have nothing to lose. They’ll certainly defend well and try to hit us on the break,” reckons the 47-year-old.

Joshua Kimmich
"Let the chase begin!"

His counterpart had already confirmed these expectations in his press conference. However, defending well is not everything for Friedhelm Funkel. “That doesn’t mean we’ll park the bus in our penalty area. We need to have possession and use it effectively,” said the Rhinelanders’ coach, who will have to do without Marcel Sobottka (patella tendon) and André Hoffmann (concussion). Centre-back Kaan Ayhan is doubtful with a toe injury.

But regardless of how the visitors play, Kovac expects his side to show “the same attitude as against Dortmund”. That’s the only way they can still achieve their aim of the league title, and it’s clear to anyone who watches Bayern in training that the players have taken that on board. As Joshua Kimmich put it: “Let the chase begin!”