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Champions League build-up

FCB turn focus to Man City

The weather on the last Sunday of the Bavarian summer holidays was far from congenial but more than 1,000 fans still flocked to the Säbener Strasse facility to watch the Bayern stars at work. The group for team training comprised just nine players, including Medhi Benatia, Claudio Pizarro and Xherdan Shaqiri, with the rest of the squad reporting to the performance centre for regeneration exercise. All the effort is now geared towards Wednesday’s opening Champions League Group E fixture at home to Manchester City.

“We want to make a good start,” announced Thomas Müller on Sunday. However, in order to secure an important first win in Europe’s elite club competition, Müller feels FCB will need “an excellent team performance.” Philipp Lahm could only agree: “Manchester City are an absolute top team,” the skipper said. Arjen Robben is currently doubtful with a minor knee problem and did not appear on the practice ground on Sunday.

However, City are also struggling with the after-effects of the summer World Cup and have made a patchy start to the new Premier League campaign with seven points from their first four games. However, the likes of Sergio Agüero, Edin Dzeko and David Silva, singled out as dangermen by Pep Guardiola at Friday’s press conference, mean Man City are always a tough proposition. “We’ll need to find another gear on Wednesday,” said Lahm, “but obviously, when FC Bayern play at home, we expect to win.”

Mario Götze, scorer of the vital opening goal against Stuttgart on Saturday, told he is expecting an “interesting match. But we’ll be well prepared.” Two-time Champions League winner Xabi Alonso is fired up for his first European outing with his new club. “Man City are a great team, but we need the win.”