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Bremen clash ushers in 'crucial' month

The rain poured down on Friday lunchtime's final pre-match training session in Munich, although the weather in no way reflected the mood at FC Bayern, despite a clutch of disappointing national team results over the past ten days particularly affecting the Germany contingent. “But these players are very balanced characters,” said Pep Guardiola, dismissing any concerns prior to the Bundesliga meeting with Werner Bremen on Saturday (Live in English from 15:30 / 3.30 pm CET on Twitter and Web Radio). The most important thing, the coach continued, “is that they've all come back fit and healthy.”

The North v South duel ushers in another period of seven games in 22 days for Bayern. “It's a crucial month,” declared Guardiola as he looked ahead to the Champions League double-header against AS Roma and Bundesliga meetings with Dortmund and Gladbach. Naturally, the ideal way to start the next packed period would be a victory over Bremen.

The players need to dismiss the international results from their minds straight away, Matthias Sammer told “They need to get straight back to the bread and butter of the league, find the right mental attitude and turn the coach’s instructions into deeds,” the sporting director stated, calling on the squad to ignore the fact Saturday's game is between the clubs in first and last place. “We can't read anything into the fact our opponents are a little wounded at the moment,” Sammer insisted.

Place on the bench for Ribéry?

“It's 11 against 11 and the score is 0–0 – this is the only fact,” Guardiola declared, calling on his men to give “a performance” and play with “passion” as favourites against the bottom club. “It depends on the players’ mental state. If we play with a concept and every player does what the coach has told him, we would normally win.”

Guardiola is likely to name a squad very similar to the group that contested the games immediately before the international break, with the possible addition of Franck Ribéry. Five weeks have passed since the Frenchman made his solitary appearance of the season so far, but he has clearly shaken off his kneecap injury and made a good impression in training last week. A decision on Ribéry's fitness would be left until Saturday lunchtime, Guardiola revealed.

Bremen are hoping to make the most of their role as underdogs. “We have nothing to lose and we've not lost anything yet,” declared Robin Dutt. The Bremen coach hopes his men can surprise their league-leading opponents in the same way Poland and Ireland outfoxed Germany. Naturally enough, FCB are keen on exactly the reverse. The unexpected results in Euro 2016 qualifying now need to fuel the fires of “huge motivation,” said Arjen Robben, “we have to be mentally up for it and go for it right from the start!”