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No let-up

Full power in first home game of the year

There is great yearning at the club right now, among the fans and also the players. Seven weeks after the last match at the Allianz Arena Bayern are back in front of their loyal home supporters in the Bundesliga against 14th-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday (Live in English from 5:30 pm on Twitter and Web Radio). “I’m really looking forward to our crowd and the stadium. I hope we give a top performance,” declared Dante following Saturday’s pre-match training session at the Säbener Strasse.

The signs are good for an 18th Bundesliga home victory in a row, noted Thomas Müller in an exclusive interview: “It’s always easier on the back of two wins. I hope we maintain our momentum, have a really good game at home and entertain the fans.” In the wake of the thrilling 2-1 midweek victory away to Stuttgart, FCB lead the standings by 13 points. “But we’re not going to let up,” stated Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “FC Bayern will carry on in 2014 where FC Bayern left off in 2013.”

Dante echoed the chairman’s call and insisted there was an urgent need to keep up the hard work, “so we don’t suddenly find ourselves disappointed.” Frankfurt boss Armin Veh has chosen to rest key regulars Sebastian Rode and Carlos Zambrano for Sunday, “but they’re still a very, very good team,” continued the Brazilian. “We need to settle quickly and play aggressively from the start.” After all Eintracht are undefeated in their last three road trips, and have taken 11 of their 18 points away from home.

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Bayern will do whatever it takes to avoid complacency. That was evident in Saturday’s training session, where the tackles flew and the sweat poured in springlike temperatures. Apart from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Holger Badstuber (both sports rehab) and Manuel Neuer (minor cold) the full squad took part in the workout. Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben could return to matchday duty, but Javi Martínez and Daniel van Buyten are not yet fit after injury.

Speaking on Friday Pep Guardiola expressed relief at the increasingly short injury roster. “I need the whole squad. I have to rotate,” the Spaniard pointed out, “otherwise we won’t stay in contention for all the available trophies.” The next few weeks bring “important matches including the Champions League and the DFB Cup,” Guardiola continued, “it’s important we take another small step forward against Frankfurt.”

The head coach called for total concentration: “If we’re not 100 percent focused our game isn’t that good. But when we focus we’re a very, very good team.” The Stuttgart clash had shown that defeat to any other Bundesliga team is always a lurking threat if FCB fail to invest their full potential. “We have to stay calm,” the coach concluded, “that’s the best way.”