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Positive pressure

Cup cracker 'like the Champions League'

Wolfsburg v Bayern: The cup holders and the competition’s record winners face off in the 2015/16 DFB Cup second round. “An unpleasant draw for both sides,” analysed Pep Guardiola before last season's top teams cross swords. The more so as the men from Munich will play away on Tuesday evening (Live in English from 20.30 CET on Twitter and Web Radio). “We've always had a tough time in Wolfsburg over the last few years,” commented Philipp Lahm, “we want to change this.”

If Lahm and Co play like they did in the most recent league match against Wolfsburg 34 days ago, chances are they will succeed: Robert Lewandowski wrapped things up for his side with an incredible five-goal haul in nine minutes, making the final score 5-1. But the gala was not relevant in the build-up to the cup clash, stressed Guardiola. “It's over, just like the Supercup.” In August Bayern lost the curtain-raiser to Wolfsburg in a penalty shootout.

Back then, Kevin de Bruyne pulled the strings for the Wolves, but Julian Draxler and Max Kruse are now the key players in their forward line. At first VfL had problems compensating for de Bruyne's transfer to Manchester City, Guardiola noted. But now coach Dieter Hecking and his troops are enjoying their “best phase of the season” so far. “They're a great team.”

Selection situation improves

Arjen Robben agreed: “It'll be a top match at a very high level. Like in the Champions League, I'd say.” Guardiola declined to say whether the Dutchman would be in the starting line-up after his impressive comeback last Saturday. But Robben coped well with the burden: “He's happy and laughing a lot. Everything's okay, his body too,” the Catalan revealed.

Javi Martínez is also fit again after his recovery from muscular problems, while Mehdi Benatia and Holger Badstuber have resumed the squad programme. Even if the Wolfsburg match comes too early for the two central defenders, the Reds can “breathe a little easier” in terms of selection options these days, according to Guardiola. Only Mario Götze, Franck Ribéry and Sebastian Rode definitely miss out, with Juan Bernat (groin) rated doubtful.

The runaway Bundesliga table-toppers travelled to Lower Saxony on Monday afternoon full of confidence and anticipation. “I like this pressure, these knock-out matches: you're either through or out,” Guardiola summarised, “it's a final. In a final you have to act like you're in a final. We have to play with lots of energy.” And with confidence – just like they did in the last four cup clashes with Wolfsburg, all of which ended in Bayern victories.

Pre-match news from Wolfsburg

Unavailable: Felipe (fractured metatarsal), Knoche (torn ligament)

Dieter Hecking:
"We want to win, but we'll need to have a superb day."
Christian Träsch: "We have a score to settle from the game in Munich. Bayern are obviously favourites, but we want to beat them at home for the third time in a row.“