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Gladbach build-up

Pep: Next ten days are the most important

“Let’s stay calm! It’s still only October.” Addressing the media on Friday, two days prior to the top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash away to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Pep Guardiola was keen to dampen the hype currently surrounding his team. Tuesday’s 7-1 gala in Rome was “impressive,” he conceded, “but there are many, many ways we can improve.” That is essential, the boss continued, “because we’re approaching the most important ten days of the first half of the season. We’ll find out how good our level really is.” Bayern contest league fixtures against Gladbach and Dortmund, a DFB Cup tie in Hamburg, and the Champions League return against Roma.

The coach is certain high-flying Gladbach will provide his men with a stern test. “They’re a top team, a Champions League team,” Guardiola declared. Lucien Favre’s game plan is based on “superb organisation, and they have very, very dangerous wide players.” There can be no comparison between Borussia and Roma: “We have to adapt and try to stop them getting at us on the break.”

Favre: We’re not afraid

In his maiden match as a Bundesliga coach, Guardiola coached FCB against Borussia at the Allianz Arena 14 months ago. He has not forgotten what happened: FCB won 3-1 but Gladbach were wasteful with a string of chances. “That’s when I learned my first lesson here in Germany,” commented Guardiola, who does not believe his men will gain much capital from the fact Borussia have two days less to recover from their midweek exploits: Gladbach played and won in the Europa League on Thursday. “Teams who face Bayern shake off any weariness. I’m 100 percent sure of that.”

Furthermore, Gladbach are undefeated in their last 14 matches and were able to rest key players such as Christoph Kramer, Alvaro Dominguez and André Hahn in the 5-0 victory over Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol, with Raffael and Max Kruse playing only a half each. “There are a number of ways to take on Bayern. You have to defend well and the smallest errors can be very dangerous. But we needn’t be afraid,” head coach Favre said on Friday.