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'We're prepared'

Bayern fired up for league restart

Two more days and the wait is finally over: FC Bayern take on Hamburger SV in Friday's official Bundesliga restart fixture. The German record champions start the second half of the season with an eight-point edge over chief competitors Borussia Dortmund: a good going-in position for a half-year at the end of which the Reds hope to present as many trophies as possible to their fans. “We want to go down this path together and hopefully celebrate titles in the end,” Robert Lewandowski commented on Wednesday, setting the course for FC Bayern.

A victory away to Hamburg would help accomplish their mission: “Eight points aren't a lot,” stressed Lewandowski. “One defeat and it's only five points, then maybe you can allow yourself two more mistakes. So we have to play well from the opener until the end of the campaign and always be awake.” His team-mate Holger Badstuber declared: “We want to get off to a good start and give everything we have to come away with the three points.”

Stay focused

In the last two weeks FCB have laid good foundations. “We've trained well,” said Badstuber, “hard, intensely and with a high level of focus.” It is not a disadvantage that the men from Munich only had one friendly away to Karlsruhe in the winter break, according to the centre-back. “When we play 11 against 11 at the training camp that's a real match for us, we can improve our play and refine our ideas there too.”

Both refused to overestimate the narrow 2-1 defeat against Karlsruhe last weekend. “Friendlies are always different from competitive fixtures,” explained Badstuber. “We know where we can improve. We're fine-tuning our play now. We'll be at 100 percent on Friday.” Lewandowski was also glad that “we have official matches again.” The players have “trained very well” in the last two weeks, and now they have to “stay focused.”

The men from the north fell to no fewer than three defeats in the winter break, but that has little significance: “We know they're not the same team as in the last few years. They've caught up and they're confident,” warned Badstuber. “It's never easy in Hamburg. A superb stadium with a superb atmosphere, they're fired up, we all know what's awaiting us,” commented the Germany international, but declared: “We're prepared. I'm confident too.”