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'Very important phase'

FCB aim to pick up where they left off

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After the first international break of the season FC Bayern enter a run of midweek games starting on Friday evening. The match away to FC Schalke at 20.30 CET marks the start to a phase of three weeks with seven fixtures. Besides five Bundesliga matches the German record champions contest Champions League encounters with FC Rostov on 13 September and Atlético on 28 September.

"A very important phase starts tomorrow," Carlo Ancelotti declared after the final training session on Thursday. "We're ready for the period, it's a very important one. It'll be important to start with a win," said the Bayern coach, hoping his troops will build on the convincing 6-0 victory over Werder Bremen.

However, the 57-year-old is aware the match against the Royal Blues will be no walkover. "They have a new team, new players, a new coach. We have to consider their qualities. It's going to be a tough match," warned Ancelotti, certain that Schalke are determined to make up for a 1-0 defeat in Frankfurt two weeks ago.

Sanches and Costa fit

Ancelotti has almost the full squad at his disposal before the upcoming phase of midweek matches. Douglas Costa ("He's ready") and recent arrival Renato Sanches ("He's at 100 percent") have recovered from injury and are available for selection. Costa still has to be patient as Ancelotti revealed he would field Thomas Müller, Franck Ribéry and Robert Lewandowski up front. Sanches might feature in the starting line-up Arturo Vidal only returned from Chile on Thursday.

Despite international action for the bulk of his squad Ancelotti thinks his players are in "good condition. We're capable of a good display." The Italian has "very fond memories" of matches at the Veltins Arena: he has yet to be beaten in Gelsenkirchen, having overseen AC Milan in a 2-2 draw and Real Madrid in two victories away to Schalke.

The hosts and new coach Markus Weinzierl have to make do without forward Franco Di Santo, who has muscular problems. Naldo is rated doubtful with back pain. Weinzierl stressed the defeat against Frankfurt is "analysed and over. We've learned our lesson. Now we have to do better against Bayern. It's a highlight, and we want to challenge them."