Created on 30-01-2016 at 14:00 PM
The FCB pros were in for the final training session at the Säbener Strasse facility when Angelique Kerber won the first tennis Grand Slam tournament for a German player since 1999. The Reds take on 1899 Hoffenheim in Sunday's first home match of the year (Live in English from 17.30 CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio) - and perhaps FCB fan Kerber will follow the game from Down Under.
“All the best and congratulations on winning the Australian Open,” keeper Manuel Neuer said after training via FCB.tv News, glad that the 28-year-old won her first Grand Slam title. Neuer & Co subsequently continued preparing for the match against Hoffenheim. After winning the restart fixture away to Hamburg the leaders want to continue their streak and cement their lead in the standings over Borussia Dortmund.
Good prospects for FCB
According to the stats, a win for Pep Guardiola's troops is practically a formality. The 17th-placed visitors have only taken six points in nine away matches in the current campaign. The record in 15 editions of the clash to date is clearly in favour of Munich with 11 wins and four draws. The Reds have yet to lose and only drew once against Hoffenheim in front of their home crowd.
However, nothing can be taken for granted. “All opponents are dangerous,” Arjen Robben cautioned, calling on all this team-mates not to underestimate the visitors. “We have to see to it that they can't be a threat to us. It's all up to us,” according to the Dutchman. FCB have “trained well” this week and have been able to work on both their fitness and tactics. “Hopefully we're a step further.”
Narrow victory in the reverse fixture
The Reds know from the first meeting of the campaign that Hoffenheim are not to be taken lightly despite their current position in the table. Kevin Volland put TSG into the lead just nine seconds into the contest, and FCB ended up claiming a last-gasp victory thanks to Robert Lewandowski's last-minute match-winner. “Of course we're not up against easy opponents, they're fighting relegation,” commented Sebastian Rode, “but we want to take three more points, no matter who we play.”
The selection situation is looking brighter at FC Bayern. The German record champions are without Jérôme Boateng for the foreseeable future, but Juan Bernat is set to return to the squad. Rafinha, Franck Ribéry, Mario Götze and Mehdi Benatia making good progress and likely to be available soon, according to Pep Guardiola.
Pre-match news from Hoffenheim
Unavailable: Pirmin Schwegler, Eugen Polanski (both hamstring), Kai Herdling (knee)
Hoffenheim coach Huub Stevens: “It's going to be a normal match against very strong opponents. It's a good game for the lads, they have the chance to show what's in them. As a player I used to enjoy games like these. They're a very strong team, and they're favourites for the Champions League if you ask me. Bayern have done an outstanding job in creating their team over the last few years.”