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Bundesliga classic

FCB entertain Werder Bremen

Bring on Bremen! FC Bayern return to Bundesliga action in the match scheduled between the two legs of the Champions League semi-final tie against Spanish giants Real Madrid. In the meeting with eleventh-placed Werder Bremen on Saturday (Live in English from 3.30 pm CET on Twitter and Web Radio) the main task for the league leaders is “to maintain the team spirit and passion we showed in Madrid,” declared Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola ahead of the final pre-match training session on Friday afternoon.

Guardiola clearly has “our final” in mind ahead of the duel with Werder Bremen – by which he means Tuesday’s decider against Real following last Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat in the Spanish capital. The victors will go through to the real final in Lisbon on 24 May. The match against Bremen can also be useful in terms of building on the performances shown in the last two matches. A good display against Werder should give Guardiola’s team the necessary confidence ahead of the do-or-die showdown with the Spaniards.

Rafinha sidelined, Kroos and Van Buyten return

Guardiola kept his cards close to his chest in terms of his line-up for the third-to-last Bundesliga fixture of the season. He wanted to “talk to a few players” before making up his mind on the starting eleven for the match against FCB’s long-term rivals from North Germany. The 43-year-old Spaniard is definitely without suspended right-back Rafinha in addition to the players on the injury list. On the plus side, Toni Kroos returns to the squad after serving a one-match ban in the Bundesliga and Daniel van Buyten is also available again.

Werder Bremen, finally safe from the drop after collecting seven points from the last four games, are intent on making the most of their last few matches and moving up a place or two in the table. However, Werder coach Robin Dutt knows his players must perform to the best of their ability on Saturday if they are to compete with FCB. “We’ve got to try to get into them as quickly as possible and disrupt their game. And then we just need to be courageous up front,” declared Dutt.

Bravery and risk required

“We need to put in a lot of hard work and chase the ball. We also need to be brave and take risks while making sure we don’t go missing,” said midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic who returns after a one-match ban and is clearly bristling with anticipation for the duel with FCB: “I don’t think you get many opportunities to show what you can do on such a big stage as against Bayern at the Allianz Arena. So we should look forward to the game and not be afraid.”

Bremen have their full squad at their disposal. Club captain Clemens Fritz has returned to full training following a ligament injury and he could be an option for Saturday. “He’ll definitely be in with a chance if he successfully comes through the final two sessions,” declared Dutt. And Felix Kroos, younger brother of FCB pro Toni, could also be in the squad after recovering from a knee injury. There is a question mark over Ludovic Obraniak, the newcomer signed in the winter break, as he is struggling with a calf problem.