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'We have to win'

Bayern ‘electrified’ for pivotal encounter

With the final internationals of the year out of the way, Bayern have seven more fixtures in two competitions before a period of enforced inactivity in the winter break. The series starts at the Allianz Arena on Sunday (Live in English from 3.15 pm CET on Web Radio) in a showdown against Bundesliga front-runners Bayer Leverkusen, which is also a reunion with former Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes.

“This is the biggest game of the first half of the season,” reflected general manager Uli Hoeneß ahead of the standout fixture on the Bundesliga schedule this weekend. The 57-year-old called for a decisive result: “At some point, we need to release all the built-up pressure and calm things down again.”

FCB are six points off Leverkusen and overnight leaders Werder Bremen, and lie a disappointing eighth in the domestic standings. The nation’s most successful club urgently need to win in order to stay well in touch at the top. “If we beat Leverkusen – and we have to win – it’s all back in our own hands,” said Louis van Gaal. “We’re all electrified before this one,” offered Hoeneß, “everyone at the club is totally focused on the match.”