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Cup clash in Münster

Guardiola: It’s either in or out!

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Bayern’s final training session prior to the DFB Cup first round tie away to Preußen Münster on Sunday (Live in English from 4 pm CET on Web Radio) was a soaking wet affair as the rain bucketed down from the leaden skies. But the players refused to be put off by the unpleasant weather and set about their final preparations for the cup trip with focus and determination. The holders have no intention of allowing a shock upset when they face the team lying 12th in the third division.

“They won’t give us anything for nothing, but if we play to our footballing potential we’ll make the next round,” Arjen Robben exclusively told on Thursday. Speaking at the press conference on Saturday lunchtime, Pep Guardiola reminded all and sundry that “anything can happen in the cup. If we think simply being Bayern Munich will be enough, it could be dangerous.”

Bayern’s first round opponents last year were fifth-tier amateurs BSV SW Rehden. “But now we face a third division team and they’re all professionals,” Guardiola warned. The head coach’s analysis shows that Münster boast a number of good players in the air, “and they have superb fans. It’ll be a great atmosphere.”

Robben set for squad duty

Guardiola and Bayern know they can expect a hostile reception at the 15,000 capacity Preußenstadion in the Westphalia university town. The 2-0 Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund, the devastating injury to Javi Martínez and the late return of the club’s World Cup stars mean the start to the season has been tricky in the extreme. “We need time, but you don’t get time in this competition. It’s either in or out!” Guardiola declared.

FCB are without a clutch of key individuals on Sunday. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribéry, Thiago, Martínez, Rafinha and Mitchell Weiser are definitely sidelined with injury. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also failed to appear for the final pre-match workout. On the plus side, Robben is set to return to the matchday squad for the first time since the World Cup.

Despite it all, Guardiola said the long injury roster and the awkward pre-season period cannot and will not be used as excuses. “We have to deal with the situation as we find it,” he insisted, “all we can do is compensate over the next few weeks with mental strength and passion. But I’m confident it’ll work out.”