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Focus on Tuesday

FCB put 'funny old game’ behind them

The team bus is leading the way. The MAN Lion's Coach L Supreme set off on the 1,500 kilometre journey to Manchester a good hour after the end of the game on Saturday evening. The Allianz Arena, lit up in red, quickly disappeared in the rear view mirror - as did the 3-3 draw against 1899 Hoffenheim. “We’re obviously not satisfied with the draw. But it could have been worse,” said Xherdan Shaqiri in assessing “a funny old game”.

In the first match after securing the Bundesliga title, Pep Guardiola rang the changes with seven players coming into starting line-up. So it was no surprise the title holders’ game was not as seamless as normal. “That’s not unusual,” said the FCB head coach. Tom Starke, making his second start this season, commented: “We showed we’re human too. Something wasn’t quite right.”

Hoffenheim’s lead through Anthony Modeste’s goal on 23 minutes was turned into a 3-1 advantage for the Reds with a brace from Claudio Pizarro (31, 40) and a Xherdan Shaqiri strike (34) in FCB’s ten best minutes of the game. Sead Salihovic (44) and Roberto Firmino (75) put the irrepressible visitors level. “Congratulations to Hoffenheim. They played well,” vouched Guardiola, who lamented the lack of his team’s usual control of possession.

Beware of United

“We didn’t have a good day. We made mistakes we don’t normally make,” explained Bastian Schweinsteiger, “perhaps it’s normal to have a game like that once in a while. It’s important for us to perform on Tuesday.” Tuesday is the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

“We’ll have problems if we play like we did today,” warned Guardiola, “they are the best English team over the past 20 years. They’ve got bags of experience.” And Thomas Müller is expecting “two really tough games. The Manchester United squad is almost the same as last season when they won the Premier League - and you don’t win that by chance.”

'We know what we can do'

Thiago’s injury was even more of a blow given the forthcoming challenge in the Champions League. “He’s a big loss,” said Guardiola. “That was the biggest setback today,” Arjen Robben agreed. However, Bayern refuse to be upset by Thiago being sidelined or the Hoffenheim result. “Can hardly wait” (Müller) is the mantra of the team ahead of the clash with Manchester United.

“We all know what we can do and we want to show it on Tuesday. We still have targets to hit,” declared Schweinsteiger at the Allianz Arena on Saturday night as the team bus set off. The players are already focused on the match in Manchester.