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Schweinsteiger returns

Cup favourites wary of complacency

On Tuesday lunchtime, Pep Guardiola was more than usually keen to get his point across: the Spanish head coach is concerned by FCB’s position as clear favourites in the DFB Cup quarter-final tie against strugglers Hamburg SV on Wednesday (Live in English from 8.30 pm CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio). “Look out, lads, look out,” declared Guardiola at the pre-match press conference, “anything can happen in a single game. Both teams start at 0-0.”

While Hamburg are on a run of six Bundesliga defeats on the trot and are currently next to bottom in the league table, Bayern are smashing one record after another. However, a casual approach on Wednesday night could put FCB on a sticky wicket. Guardiola wants to avoid that at all costs. “We can’t afford to think about Freiburg or Arsenal. Hamburg is the most important game of all. We can’t win any titles tomorrow but we can lose one,” explained the coach.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge also made his views clear, demanding that no-one at the club be “lulled into a false sense of security. Most of the recent games at Hamburg have been very tight.” Everybody at Bayern knows making the cup semi-finals is not “a walk in the park. We’re the holders. But our players know we can’t take anything for granted at Hamburg.”

Schweinsteiger to travel

The last meeting with Hamburg in the middle of December in the Bundesliga  showed that HSV have quality players in their squad. FCB did secure a deserved 3-1 win in the end after a tough battle at the Allianz Arena. The current unsettled situation at  HSV “makes them even more dangerous,” warned Guardiola, “they want to show a reaction against Bayern Munich. The biggest mistake would be to focus on the Bundesliga table.”

Guardiola is in the fortunate position of welcoming yet more players back from injury. Following Javi Martínez’ comeback at FC Nürnberg, Bastian Schweinsteiger is now on the verge of returning to the squad. “We need him,” said Guardiola, who has his vice-captain on board for the Hamburg trip as he gradually edges closer to regaining a place in the starting eleven. The only negative is Franck Ribéry’s latest enforced absence. “I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he’ll be fully fit again as soon as possible,” added the coach.

There is a question mark in the HSV camp over former Bayern player Marcell Jansen (calf injury). Pierre-Michel Lasogga (muscular injury) will also probably not recover in time. Jonathan Tah is set to make the squad. Hamburg coach Bert van Marwijk did not comment on the cup meeting with Bayern as the under-pressure Dutchman left the pre-match press conference after just three minutes.