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'Don’t wait for mistakes'

Vital points at stake for title race and FCB’s rhythm

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When Pep Guardiola was asked about Arturo Vidal’s tattoos the cheerful Catalan just laughed, thought about it for a minute and almost missed the next question. That was the only moment on Friday where the FC Bayern coach had to refocus. It was clear straight away: Guardiola and Bayern are ready and waiting for Saturday’s South German derby away to VfB Stuttgart (Live in English from 15:30 CET on Twitter and Web Radio).

“There are only six games to go and we’re getting ever closer to our most important target with each game,” said the Bayern coach in summing up the significance of the away fixture in Swabia where FCB are “looking to collect the next three points,” as Philipp Lahm put it. Guardiola knows FC Bayern cannot afford to “wait for other clubs’ mistakes” if they want to finish top of the league. ”We need to win our games ourselves. Perhaps that’s good for our rhythm.”

FCB will need to be on their guard in Stuttgart. The team twelfth in the Bundesliga on 33 points are not yet safe from relegation but their form is on the up: the 2007 league champions are currently the fourth-best team in the form table for the second half of the season. Under current coach Jürgen Kramny VfB are “a bit different,” Guardiola said, compared with the meeting earlier in the season when FC Bayern clocked up a 4-0 win against the team then supervised by Alexander Zorniger.

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“They have quick and physically strong players in Kostic, Werner, Didavi,” said Guardiola who has also been considering the opposition defence. “Only one of the last seven teams we’ve played have fielded a five-man defence,” explained the Catalan, who suspects Stuttgart will look to close down space. “We play a very wide game with our two wingers,” added Guardiola, “our opponents don’t want to leave them unmarked on the flanks.”

VfB coach Kramny has had to reshuffle his midfield. Chief enforcer Serey Dié tore a groin ligament in the 2-2 draw in Darmstadt last week and is now ruled out for the rest of the season. “We’ll see if we’ll play with two defensive midfielders or one, two wing-backs and a number ten,” said Kramny. Bayern, who have won all eight Bundesliga games after Champions League ties this term with 23 goals for and one against, are without Holger Badstuber, Jérôme Boateng, Mehdi Benatia and Arjen Robben.

Informationen zum Gegner VfB Stuttgart:

  • Unavailable: Serey Dié (groin), Kevin Großkreuz (sprain), Daniel Ginczek (cruciate)

  • Coach Jürgen Kramny: "Obviously the match presents us with a huge challenge. It'll depend on us working hard as group on defending and simultaeously showing courage in attack. The players and I are looking forward to the task."