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'A decisive phase'

FCB turn focus to Schalke trip

Normal service after the international break was resumed at FC Bayern on Thursday afternoon as Pep Guardiola and his men began preparing for Saturday’s Bundesliga trip to face Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen. Coach Guardiola supervised a group of 18 players out on the practice ground, with Douglas Costa performing solo regeneration drills in the performance center. The only player not yet back at the Säbener Strasse was Arturo Vidal, as the Chilean was still making his way back to Europe from South America.

Thomas Müller believes the meeting with the Royal Blues will be “no easy task.” Schalke are winless in six “and have their backs to the wall at home in front of their own fans. There are easier fixtures coming off the back of the international break,” the Germany regular told

However, Bayern’s customary confidence is supported by the stats. FCB have returned to domestic action with a win after the last 11 international breaks, scoring 32 goals and conceding only three. The Reds last dropped points in a similar situation three years ago in a 1-1 draw with Nürnberg in November 2012, with the most recent post-break defeat dating back even longer to March 2012, a 2-0 reverse in Leverkusen. “We have to take all three points. Right now, we’re entering a decisive phase in the season,” Müller declared.