Created on 29-10-2015 at 16:30 PM
Tuesday evening featured Bayern’s stunning DFB Cup display in Wolfsburg. Wednesday included a brief shakedown before the flight home to Munich. And Thursday’s focus was the next pre-match training session. That’s hardly an ideal way to prepare for a Bundesliga fixture, but Bayern are determined not to be knocked out of their currently wildly successful stride when they travel to Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday (Live in English from 20.30 CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio). The champions’ declared aim is to stretch their new record at the start of a league season to 11 straight wins.
“The big teams are always playing twice a week. If you’re mentally prepared, your legs respond,” said Pep Guardiola, refusing to allow tricky scheduling as an excuse. In a rare exception to their normal rule, Bayern are travelling to the away appointment in Frankfurt on the day of the game itself. “The players can still be with their families this evening,” the coach explained, “it’s no problem. It’s what I always did with Barcelona when the kick-off was late in the day.”
In recent years, FCB have fared very well indeed against Eintracht, victims of an embarrassing act of giant-killing by third-tier Erzgebirge Aue in the DFB Cup in midweek. The Reds have won the last six meetings between the sides without conceding a goal and are also mining a rich vein of form at the moment, with the first half of the 3-1 win against Wolfsburg on Tuesday including long spells of scintillating football.
Guardiola was of course delighted with that: “I’m very pleased with our performance. We’re playing at the top level,” he told Thursday’s pre-match press conference. Nevertheless, insisted the coach, “we have tiny, tiny details to improve. Perfection doesn’t exist. We gave the ball away too easily in the second half. That’s a big risk against the world’s top teams.”
Benatia back in contention
Eintracht would not claim to be one of that elite group, but Bayern will not beat Armin Veh’s men simply by turning up. “They’re very, very consistent and strong at home,” Guardiola pointed out. The men from Hesse will also be desperate to make amends for their unexpected cup exit, the Catalan said. “I’m expecting Frankfurt at their best, not a despondent team – after all, they’re playing Bayern.” Arjen Robben thinks it will be a challenging away trip: “We’ll need all the strength we have.”
There is little news on the selection front. Mehdi Benatia has been training with the team for some days and might return to the starting line-up, although Mario Götze, Franck Ribéry, Sebastian Rode and Juan Bernat miss out. But on the whole the injury situation has improved, which is why Guardiola is optimistic: “If we can keep up our harmony and our team spirit, we'll remain in the race for all the trophies until the end. I'm 100 percent certain of that.”
However, the Catalan issued a warning regarding the championship title. “We've won all ten games – yet we're only seven points ahead. That shows how strong our opponents are,” explained Guardiola. “Believe me, no-one has ever clinched the championship title in October. We’ve been incredible so far, but in the second half of the season we'll play away to Leverkusen, Dortmund, Wolfsburg.” And now to Frankfurt, without much preparation.
Pre-match news from Frankfurt:
Unavailable: Kittel (not match fit), Anderson (sports rehab), Balayev (dental surgery)
Armin Veh (coach): “We obviously want to win, but that’s not especially realistic at the moment.”
Marc Stendera (scored both goals in Eintracht’s 2-1 win in Hannover):
“It’s hard to stop Bayern but we have nothing to lose. We should go out there looking to enjoy it, not think too much about it and just play our football. Bayern have perfect options in every area. That’s the main reason they’re so good. They have so many strengths you can barely count them.”