Created on 19-11-2012 at 00:00 AM
A 19-strong Bayern squad took the plane to Spain on Monday morning, the first step on the road to Tuesday evening’s crucial Champions League clash with Valencia. The Lufthansa jet lifted off from Munich shortly after 11 o'clock for the approximately two-hour flight to the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast), with both Franck Ribéry (bruised ribs) and Mario Gomez, making a first squad appearance of the season, among the passengers.
Ribéry's injury forced him to miss Saturday's 1-1 Bundesliga draw in Nuremberg. “It's not an easy injury, but I have to play. This is a very important match," he said prior to boarding on Monday. Jupp Heynckes is confident of being able to field his star wide player: “I think he'll manage."
“We want to win the group, so we have to take at least a point," declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge prior to takeoff. “We need to approach the game with focus and determination." The outcome of the match could yet be pivotal, as Valencia lead Bayern on goal difference at the top of Group F with two fixtures to play.
Evening workout at Mestalla
Victory on Tuesday evening at the venerable Camp de Mestalla would both secure FCB's place in the Round of 16 and ensure the men from Munich finish top of the section, provided BATE Borisov do not beat Lille in the parallel fixture. Otherwise, the final placings will go down to the sixth and last round of matches on 5 December when the Bavarians entertain Borisov.
On Monday, the players will transfer directly from Valencia airport to the team hotel for lunch, followed by the obligatory pre-match press conference featuring Heynckes, Javi Martinez and Toni Kroos on this occasion. The final workout at the Mestalla takes place in the evening.
Bayern squad to face Valencia:
Neuer, Dante, Van Buyten, Ribéry, Martínez, Mandzukic, Shaqiri, Rafinha, Pizarro, Lahm, Starke, Müller, Contento, Alaba, Badstuber, Schweinsteiger, Gomez, Kroos, Tymoshchuk