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The 23-day plan

Win over Werder would set season in motion

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Just a few weeks into the new season, Bayern enter the first intense and critical phase of the campaign with seven games in the next 23 days. Louis van Gaal and his men might have hoped for an easier start than Saturday’s meeting with Werder Bremen. “Bremen are a top team. It’ll be difficult, but I’m obviously hoping we’ll win,” said the coach on the eve of the Allianz Arena clash.

The customary full house will witness the match. “It's always a special fixture. Werder Bremen have been our biggest rivals over the last decade,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, calling on the team to bounce back from an avoidable defeat in Kaiserslautern: “It's a chance to put distance between ourselves and a team who are undoubtedly title rivals.”

Bayern meet Werder in the 99th edition of the north versus south showdown, which is also a re-run of last May’s cup final. FCB emphatically won that match 4-0. In just over six weeks, the teams meet again at the Allianz Arena to contest a place in the last sixteen of the cup. “We want to send out a message to our rivals,” said Daniel van Buyten.