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Derby versus Augsburg

FCB poised to set new league record

It's derby time at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Saturday when Bayern entertain FC Augsburg (Live in English from 3.30 pm CET on Twitter and Web Radio). The clubs are located only 70 or so kilometres apart on the Autobahn, but FCB are the team in the fast lane. The treble winners have not lost to a Bavarian rival for almost seven years since February 2007 – not to Augsburg, not to Nürnberg, not to Fürth, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, Burghausen, or 1860 München. All in all, the men from the state capital are unbeaten in the last 24 derbies in the Bundesliga and DFB Cup without defeat. The plan is to extend that streak on Saturday, which would also signify an extraordinary new Bundesliga record of 37 consecutive matches without defeat. But before any celebrations, Munich face 90 minutes of toil and effort.

“We have to play well. If we do, we have a very good chance of winning,” Pep Guardiola intoned on the eve of the match. The coach said he was optimistic about Saturday. “I’m sure we’ll play well tomorrow.”

However, Bayern are without Bastian Schweinsteiger on news of another round of surgery for the Germany midfielder. On the plus side, Arjen Robben returns after two games out with a groin problem. “He’ll be with us,” announced Guardiola, although the coach was preoccupied with the loss of Schweinsteiger: “It’s very sad for him and obviously for us as a team. He was the best player in the Bundesliga last season.“

Guardiola’s warning

Augsburg approach the clash with Germany’s leading club in better shape than ever before. The side lying 13th in the table have already won four matches, more than ever before in the first half of a Bundesliga campaign. Head coach Markus Weinzierl, an FCB reserve player from 1995 to 1999, was appropriately upbeat in the build-up to the game: “We’re not just going to go there and park the bus. We’ll dig as deep as we possibly can and see if we can cause a sensation.“

“As usual we’ll approach the game courageously, because we’re not scared,” agreed burly striker Sascha Mölders, promising an aggressive and hard-working display. Weinzierl will send out a full-strength side, with Marwin Hitz continuing in goal at the expense of regular keeper Alexander Manninger, the Augsburg coach announced.

“They play a lot of diagonal passes from the full-backs to the striker. They have very strong legs, they put in good crosses and they’re very aggressive,” noted Guardiola, aware of FCA’s counter-attacking threat. Bayern will need to be fully alert if they are not to fall at the final hurdle prior to setting the new record, as Uli Hoeneß warned: “The previous 36 matches will be worthless if we lose against Augsburg. It’ll have been all for nothing.“ The correct response, and the one the stars intend to give, is to go for it 100 percent for another 90 minutes.