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Tough task in Cologne

Sammer calls for ‘big performance’

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Five games into the new league season, Bayern are in good shape with three wins, no defeats and top spot in the standings. However, the Reds face another stern test away to promoted FC Köln on Saturday (Live in English from 3.30 pm CET on Twitter and Web Radio), a match described by Matthias Sammer as a “tough task.” The FCB board director for sport called for a “big performance” to ensure the champions remain top of the table. “A normal display won’t be enough in Cologne. We’ll have to invest a huge amount.”

Sammer has his reasons for issuing the sharp warning. Köln are unbeaten at home so far this term, with just one goal conceded and one defeat in all. “All credit to FC Köln,” said the 47-year-old, “they’re extremely well-organised, and they defend aggressively. They put up a united front and leave opponents no space.”

“It won't be easy in Cologne,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge agreed in an exclusive interview. “They’re a hard-working team and they keep it very tight at the back.” Sebastian Rode added: “They know all about defending. They have a clear tactical plan, and we’ll have to unpick it.” The Bayern forwards will have their work cut out, although the signs from the 4-0 victory over Paderborn on Tuesday were very promising indeed.

From Cologne to Moscow

Thomas Müller feels the league game is “one of two away matches with a nasty feel to them.” The striker was already looking ahead to Tuesday’s Champions League trip to  CSKA Moscow. “We’ll have to be totally on our guard in both games,” noted Sammer, although he also set clear priorities: “We have to concentrate totally on Köln! Anything else won’t be enough.”

Sammer remains hopeful that Jérôme Boateng and Medhi Benatia will have shaken off sprains in time to feature on Saturday. The Bayern party will travel direct from Cologne to Moscow on Sunday, “because it’ll save us a lot of effort,” Sammer explained. In an ideal world, the Reds will take off for Eastern Europe on the back of a win in the Rhineland and as league leaders. “It’s psychologically better if you’re top,” commented Sammer: “That’s where we are now, we like it there, and we don’t want to move!”

News from FC Köln:

  • Unavailable: Patrick Helmes (cartilage), Dusan Svento (metatarsal), Thomas Bröker (back), Kazuki Nagasawa (knee)
  • Coach Peter Stöger: “We needn’t waste words on who are the favourites. We don’t have a lot to lose. We aim to set out our stall and make sure it’s not easy for them.”