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On guard and focused

FCB expect fierce fight in Kaiserslautern

If Thomas Müller had his way, Bayern would play all their matches in the evening. “The temperatures are more comfortable, and there’s more of an atmosphere at the stadium. I also feel better physically in the evenings. I can eat three meals and spend the day preparing.” Mark van Bommel would tend to agree: “You can take another short sleep, and generally prepare yourself better.”

So perhaps it is no bad thing that the Bundesliga champions’ first away trip of the new campaign kicks off at 8.30 pm, as Louis van Gaal’s men will need to be at their refreshed and sprightly best to come away with the desired result from promoted second division champions FC Kaiserslautern.

Friday evening, and the notorious Betzenberg stadium packed to the rafters with a near 50,000 crowd – there have been more appetising appointments for Bayern than Kaiserslautern and their Fritz-Walter stadium. The entire Palatinate region apparently wanted to attend: the FCK ticket office dealt with more than 130,000 applications, and the raging enthusiasm for the club has soared to even greater heights following their opening day victory away to FC Köln.

Van Gaal understands the severity of the task. “I’d hoped we wouldn’t have to play a promoted club in the first five matches, like we had to last season against Mainz.” On Matchday 3 in 2009-10, Bayern fell to a painful 2-1 defeat away to FSV. “It's a tough challenge,” said Van Bommel, who will make his first visit to the Betzenberg. However, the FCB skipper is looking forward to the experience at the most geographically elevated stadium in Germany: “These games are the best.”