presented by
'A very tough match'

Beware 'special' Lilies, Guardiola warns

The Bayern coach was Pal Csernai, Klaus Augenthaler scored a brace, and  Dieter Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge also added their names to the scoresheet at the Olympic stadium that day. It has been a long time since SV Darmstadt last travelled to face FC Bayern in the Bundesliga. After a 34-year break FCB take on the Lilies in Munich on Saturday (Live in English from 15.30 CET on Twitter and Web Radio), but they do not expect things to run as smoothly as in the 4-1 victory on 23 January 1982.

“We've seen in the cup how tough it is to play against them,” Pep Guardiola warned, recalling his team’s narrow 1-0 victory in the DFB Cup Round of 16 last December. “They're a very special team. They defend very deep, they slow down the match and commit a lot of fouls. They disrupt your rhythm.” Franck Ribéry too expects a “very tough match against very defensive opponents” to usher in two weeks including midweek matches.

Prising open Darmstadt's deep-lying rearguard is only part of the problem, as Munich may have their work cut out in defence too: Darmstadt are very dangerous from dead ball situations and on the break. “They're one of the best teams in the league when it comes to set pieces. They live for these situations,” Guardiola cautioned in the build-up to the meeting with the league's third-best away team. For example, Darmstadt took points against the odds in a 1-0 victory at Leverkusen and in draws away to Dortmund and Schalke.

Trio to return, Tasci set for debut

But the German record champions have prepared appropriately for the duel with the Bundesliga novices, who will be without five players serving a one-match ban. Next Tuesday’s Champions League showdown in Turin is not yet a topic for discussion. “Step by step, match by match. We've talked about Darmstadt for a week, we've prepared against them for a week,” stressed Guardiola.

On the day before crossing swords with the men from Hesse the FCB head coach was not only satisfied with the training sessions, but also rejoiced at good news. Franck Ribéry, Mario Götze and Mehdi Benatia are set to return after recovering from injuries and winter signing Serdar Tasci is poised for his debut. “They're ready. They're fit, but I don't know for how many minutes.”

Ribéry, who will be part of the home squad for the first time in eleven months, is looking forward to it: “It's super to be with the fans and the team again.” The winger aims to take three points against Darmstadt: “We have to turn in a good display, because it’ll affect our match in Turin.”

Pre-match news from Darmstadt:

Unavailable: Marcel Heller, Peter Niemeyer, Jerôme Gondorf, Aytac Sulu, Konstantin Rausch (one-match bans)

Coach Dirk Schuster: “We'll field a competitive team who aim to make it as difficult as possible for Bayern. It's an opportunity for other players to prove they're fit for the Bundesliga and that we were wrong to field them so rarely. We laid down a little marker in the cup, now we want to live up to it.”