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Defeat forgotten

FCB approach Berlin clash 'in good spirits'

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Winter has well and truly arrived in southern Germany. “Puh, ganz schön zapfig!” – “Wow, it’s chilly!” said Thomas Müller in his best Bavarian as he exited the dressing room and headed for the training ground on Friday lunchtime. The stars were wrapped up warm in gloves, bobble hats, scarves and thermal jogging pants as they made their final preparations for the Bundesliga trip to Hertha BSC on Saturday (Live in English from 15:30 / 3.30 pm CET on Twitter and Web Radio). Four days after an unlucky 3-2 defeat away to Manchester City, FCB are determined to return to winning ways.

“We’re in good spirits even though we lost,” reported boss Pep Guardiola, who remains “proud” with the performance put in by FCB’s ten men in Manchester. “We were very courageous and our fighting spirit was unbelievable, although we obviously made mistakes too.” These things happen from time to time, the Spaniard continued. “We’re a good team but not perfect. We still have a few areas where we can improve.”

Bayern will need to concentrate on their game away to the 13th-placed men from the capital, as Hertha have recorded three of their four wins this term on home turf. “They’re very aggressive, and they have Kalou from Chelsea up front now instead of Ramos,” remarked Guardiola. “And they’ve had the same coach for years, so they all know each other very well.”

Boateng: We like going there

There has been no change to the selection situation at the club with Guardiola likely to name the same squad he fielded in Manchester. “They all finished the City game without injury, but they were just a bit tired,” the coach reported. However, with the injury roster still long, the fit players will have to battle through until the mid-season break: “We have a game every three days so there’s little opportunity to rotate.”

A special afternoon lies in store for Berlin-born Jérôme Boateng, who will be honoured by his former club Hertha prior to kick-off as a World Cup winner and for his stellar ascent in recent years. “It’s fantastic for me,” Boateng informed, “my family and lots of friends will be at the stadium.” However, once the referee blows for kick-off, the pleasantries will be set aside. “We like going to Berlin, and the Champions League final next year is a big target, but for now we want the three points,” the centre-back declared.

Latest news from Hertha BSC

  • Unavailable: S. Langkamp (ankle), Lustenberger (groin), Pekarik (sprain), Baumjohann (cruciate), Cigerci (toe, op)
  • Coach Jos Luhukay: “Bayern are absolutely top class. They’re tactically flexible, extremely good in possession and creative. Their players have an outstanding mentality. My players need to believe in themselves and have the courage to go out and beat Bayern or take a point. Both would count as a great success. There’s always a moment when you can strike, and you need a bit of luck too.”