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Opener versus Bremen

FCB fired up for Bundesliga restart

The wait is over! 104 days after the last Bundesliga match against Hannover 96 FC Bayern contest the official opening fixture of the 54th Bundesliga season on Friday evening. The reigning champions take on Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena at 20.30 CET, and the Bavarians are fired up for the restart!

"The excitement after the summer break and pre-season is always great," captain Philipp Lahm explained before the start of the new league campaign, "you're glad that it starts again." Manuel Neuer too is "very" excited, "we're looking forward to the opener at the Arena." David Alaba declared: "Pre-season is over, now we can turn our full focus to the new season!"

"We're very excited about how the first few matches will go," said Neuer, who added that it is only after "Matchday 5 or 6 that you know where you stand. But I think we've worked well." Lahm too feels Bayern "can't be at 100 percent yet because we have new coaches and because the internationals haven't been training for long. But I think we're well-prepared for the restart."

Xabi Alonso and Thiago back

Carlo Ancelotti too is looking forward to the opener in front of a full house at the Allianz Arena. "It's a new experience, a new country, a new league. That's why it's very exciting to start tomorrow," the Bayern head coach said on Thursday. "I think we're favourites for the title, but we always have to give it everything. It's going to be a long campaign with 34 matches. We have to be focused, and now we're turning that focus to the first match."

Ancelotti has great respect for the men from the north, their unlikely defeat to third-tier outfit Lotte notwithstanding. "Bremen lost in the cup, but it's going to be a different match tomorrow," the Italian warned. "We want to make a good start, and we need a high level of concentration." There was good news for the Bavarians as Xabi Alonso and Thiago have recovered from injuries and returned to the squad. "They're ready, they don't have any problems." Renato Sanches will begin on the bench.

Werder coach Viktor Skripnik is struggling with a lengthy injury roster. A reunion with Claudio Pizarro has to be postponed as the Peruvian is sidelined with torn muscle fibres. Santiago Garcia, Philipp Bargfrede and new signing Max Kruse also miss out. Zlatko Junuzovic is rated doubtful for the meeting. Skripnik declined to reveal whether right-back Robert Bauer would make his debut for the visitors a few days after joining Werder from Ingolstadt.