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Bundesliga Matchday 23
Allianz Arena, Munich
  • 62' Javi Martínez
FC Bayern Munich
1 : 0
Hertha BSC Berlin
  • 62' Javi Martínez
Bayern fired up

Beat Hertha and raise the pressure

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For Bayern, it’s a case of flicking the switch and re-focussing. After their impressive performance at Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, it’s back to Bundesliga business on Saturday (live ticker from 15:30 CET). Hertha BSC are the visitors to the Allianz Arena and Bayern have a job to do.

“We’re still three points behind Dortmund, they’re the leaders. They’re still where we want to be,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, outlining the target for Matchday 23. Head coach Niko Kovac has also shifted his focus from Europe to day-to-day domestic matters. “We still have catching up to do in the Bundesliga,” he commented on Friday. “What happened a few days ago is in the past. We want to and need to win the match to maintain our chances of winning the title. We can draw level on points with Dortmund and put pressure on them to win on Sunday.”

Niko Kovac
"There's no stopping us"

With Borussia Dortmund not hosting Bayer Leverkusen until Sunday, the men from Munich can turn up the pressure with three points against the Berliners. The performance at Anfield can certainly give them confidence. “We can take a lot of positives into the Bundesliga and the game against Hertha BSC,” noted Kovac, highlighting his team’s strong defensive display in particular.

“For me, the fact we were able to keep a clean sheet against such a world-class team is highly significant. If we do that in the Bundesliga, there’s no stopping us,” added the 47-year-old, who should be able to call on Jérôme Boateng, who was absent against Liverpool. He is set to replace Mats Hummels, who has been ruled out with a cold, while long-term absentees Corentin Tolisso and Arjen Robben remain sidelined.

Hertha not going to lie down

Hertha, meanwhile, will be without injured defenders Jordan Torunarigha (Achilles) and Marvin Plattenahrdt (adductor). Captain Vedad Ibisevic serves a one-match suspension and the game is likely to come too soon for Mathew Leckie, Arne Maier and Javairô Dilrosun to make their comebacks from injury.

In spite of that, manager Michael Preetz expects his team “to be brave”, while head coach Pál Dárdai is up for the challenge. “We’re not going to Munich just to make up the numbers. We want to get something,” declared the Hungarian. Bayern, of course, have other ideas and are fired up for the match. “We want to get the three points and I can see the lads are ready.”