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'Bring it on’

FCB primed for busy period

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The gym at the Säbener Strasse facility was sparsely populated today. Only Bastian Schweinsteiger, Diego Contento, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Holger Badstuber completed individual sessions. Monday provides a chance for the rest of the squad to recover before Tuesday’s final pre-match training session ahead of the game against Hamburg SV. The DFB Cup quarter final at 8.30 pm CET on Wednesday marks the start of a busy period for Bayern with eight games in five weeks up to the middle of March. “Now we’ve got the big games. Bring it on!” declared Xherdan Shaqiri.

The Cup tie against HSV is followed by games against Freiburg, Arsenal twice, Hannover, Schalke, Wolfsburg and Leverkusen. The second half of the season is really taking off. “The knockout games are finally here,” said  Jérôme Boateng, looking forward to the Hamburg clash, where Bayern will be determined to make it five DFB Cup semi-finals in successive seasons. “We want to do all we can to get to Berlin again, just like we have in the last few seasons,” Thomas Müller reported to

'Total concentration'

The key factor will be to avoid underestimating Hamburg in spite of their current poor form. “There are definitely easier Cup quarter-finals than HSV away. The atmosphere will be electric,” warned Müller, “but we won’t let it bother us.” His team-mate Arjen Robben, who made a great comeback in Nuremberg last weekend, also sounded a warning against the team currently second from bottom in the league. “We’ll need total concentration,” the Dutchman urged, “then we won’t lose at Hamburg.”

Hamburg SV have lost six Bundesliga matches on the trot, but FCB are clocking up one record after the next and have now gone 45 games unbeaten in the league. Boateng said: “It’s very important for the whole team that we continue our positive run, play well and improve from game to game.”