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Neuer close to return

FCB start build-up to cup semi-final

The Bayern pros had just 40 hours to get over the Bundesliga home defeat against Borussia Dortmund. “The weekend is for recovery and regeneration. We need to learn a lesson or two from the game and address a couple of issues,” declared sporting director Matthias Sammer on Saturday night after the final whistle at the Allianz Arena.

No sooner said than done. The first team squad returned to the Säbener Strasse training ground at 4 pm on Monday afternoon to start preparing for the next match. FCB entertain second division FC Kaiserslautern in the DFB Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night. And the holders are focused on getting a result in the cup tie: “We want to go to Berlin,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Pep Guardiola welcomed most of his squad to the first training session of the week with the exception of the sidelined Thiago, Xherdan Shaqiri, Diego Contento, Holger Badstuber and Tom Starke. Manuel Neuer, who went off at half-time in the BVB clash as a precaution due to a tight calf, worked out in the performance centre. With two days to go before the cup showdown, the Spaniard set to work on building up his players' concentration and desire, seeking to make sure they do not lose sight of the target. “I've got to find solutions. It's risky for the Kaiserslautern game too,” said Guardiola taking himself to task after the defeat against Dortmund.

“It will be important for us not to underestimate the opposition. They showed what damage they can do against a Bundesliga team at Leverkusen,” said Rummenigge, sounding a warning about the side from the Rhineland Palatinate who secured a surprise 1-0 win away to Bayer Leverkusen at the quarter-final stage. “It's a final for us,” added Sammer ahead of the DFB Cup clash with the second division outfit. “The lads know exactly not to follow Leverkusen's example. We need to produce a better performance than we did against Dortmund.”

“We know the scale of the challenge we face at home to Kaiserslautern if we want to make it to the final in Berlin. That's crucial,” said Neuer, who should definitely be back between the sticks on Wednesday.