Created on 16-10-2015 at 13:50 PM
First the good news: “The coach is fit and able to play.” Pep Guardiola has not lost his sense of humour, despite having considerable trouble with the selection situation. For the next phase of midweek games – the Reds are in for seven matches in 22 days – the FCB head coach has only limited options. “We have 13 outfield players and two goalkeepers, that's it,” commented the Catalan one day before the Bundesliga match away to Werder Bremen on Saturday (Live in English from 15.30 CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio).
During the international break Mario Götze and Kingsley Coman joined the already injured trio Franck Ribéry, Mehdi Benatia and Sebastian Rode on the sidelines. It is too early for Arjen Robben, Holger Badstuber and Jan Kirchhoff to play, even though they are back in team training. Xabi Alonso and Javi Martínez reported slight problems after the most recent training sessions. However, both will travel to Bremen, as will Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal, who returned from South America on Thursday.
Warned about Bremen
In the light of these problems Guardiola, who can at least count on Juan Bernat after his recovery from a groin injury, issued a note of caution before the match against Werder. “They’re an aggressive team, good at pressing and set pieces, with very quick players,” said the Catalan. “If we can't control their counter-attacks we'll have problems.”
Bremen lost all their last four matches before the international break, but Guardiola stressed that this is precisely why his troops must be wary: “Their four defeats are what's most dangerous about them. As a result they’re passionate, focused and everything.” Nevertheless the clear goal is to take all three points in Bremen. It would be Bayern’s ninth victory in their ninth league fixture so far – no team has ever achieved that in the 52-year history of the Bundesliga.
Reunion with 'Pizza'
The record would be “nice,” commented Guardiola, “but I’m focusing more on our play.” FCB’s form was undeniably good before the international break. “We've created many chances for ourselves, allowing only a few for our opponents, we were in control. The competition among our players was the reason.” But now he is “a little worried. It's impossible to keep up the high level and fight for all the titles with only 13 players.”
“It certainly won't be easy in Bremen,” agreed David Alaba, who is looking forward to the reunion with Claudio Pizarro, just like his team-mates. The Peruvian was one of them until last summer before returning to Bremen, where he is still waiting for his first goal. “It's a special game for him, but for us as well,” explained Martínez, ruling out any kind of present for his former team-mate: “When the game starts we forget the friendship.” FC Bayern want to continue what they left off before the break, albeit with a serious crop of selection concerns.
Pre-match news from Bremen:
Coach Viktor Skripnik: “We’ll have to fight, scratch and bite. We mustn’t show fear and we can’t go looking for a place to hide. We need to show desire and courage. We want to do well and give a good account of ourselves, and afterwards be proud that we did everything we could.”
Unavailable: Aron Johannsson (bruised hip), Raphael Wolf (swollen hip), Özkan Yildirim (knee)
Doubtful: Jannik Vestergaard (flu)