Created on 21-08-2015 at 15:00 PM
After comprehensively winning their first Bundesliga match of the new campaign, Bayern’s task now is to build on their impressive start. A week after seeing off Hamburg 5-0 in the season opener, the champions travel to face TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday (Live in English from 15:30 CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio) looking for a first away victory. “It’s important we rack up the points from the start and show no weakness to our rivals for the title,” commented keeper Manuel Neuer in the build-up to the Hoffenheim trip.
However, the meeting with the side lying 11th, who were narrowly beaten 2-1 at Leverkusen last weekend, will be “difficult,” according to Neuer. “It’s often been close at their place. But we’ll try and impose ourselves on them.” Bayern boss Pep Guardiola also expects a tough challenge. “It’ll be a completely different match compared to Hamburg,” the Catalan said. The northerners pulled nine men back for most of the opening match, but Hoffenheim favour an aggressive pressing game.
The Reds have never lost to the men from the Kraichgau region in 14 previous meetings, but history counts for nothing on Saturday. “They invest a lot of effort, put you under pressure and always look to get forward,” warned Guardiola. “We need to take care, avoid errors and not leave ourselves open to counter-attacks,” agreed Arjen Robben, although the Dutchman feels FCB are “on the right track” at this early stage of the campaign. “If you win your first match 5-0, you don’t have many grounds for complaint.”
Pep's embarrassment of riches
“We need to slip into our rhythm as quickly as possible and get good results,” Robben continued. Philipp Lahm could not agree more: “You don’t win the league on the first or second matchday, but you can lose ground,” the club captain pointed out. All the more reason for the champions to travel to Hoffenheim “looking for the next three points.”
When it comes to his team selection Guardiola again has an embarrassment of riches. Almost all the players are fit with only Franck Ribéry, Holger Badstuber, Javi Martínez and Jan Kirchhoff definitely ruled out. A maximum of 18 men can be named in the matchday squad, so just like last week against Hamburg a handful of stars will be disappointed. “The starting line-up is tricky, but picking it is my job,” reflected Guardiola: “I have no problem with my players. The only problem is that they all want to play. And sometimes I make a different decision.”
Pre-match news from Hoffenheim
TSG coach Markus Gisdol: "Even against Bayern, we reckon we can achieve a lot. We definitely won't freeze in awe, because otherwise Bayern will destroy you.“
Unavailable: Hamad (not match fit), Hertling (knee)