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Ribéry returns

FCB 'with good feeling' ahead of HSV

“I’m old,” grinned Carlo Ancelotti when told of his upcoming milestone. The 57-year-old will take charge of his 1000th competitive game as a coach when Bayern host Hamburger SV on Saturday (kick-off 15:30CET, coverage available via our live ticker and web radio). But despite his age and experience, it doesn’t mean that games have become routine for Ancelotti.

“I still get excited and nervous before every game,” continued the Italian. That includes the current stage of the season as the team enters the decisive stage of the campaign with the game against Hamburg. “There’s just 90 days left until the end of the season, and we have to give our best in that time,” reinforced the experienced tactician. “Every game can be decisive towards the outcome at the end of the season, but I have a good feeling about the next 90 days. I have a lot of trust in my team, everyone is motivated, focused and in a good condition.”

Alonso to be rested

Jerome Boateng is currently the only player out injured, so Ancelotti can call upon almost the entire squad to play. “The competition for places will help everyone to become better,” enthused the coach, who will be without Xabi Alonso for the visit of HSV. “Alonso has had adductor problems. He’s trained but hasn’t felt perfect. We don’t want to take any risk with so many games coming up,” explained Ancelotti. However, Franck Ribery is back in the squad after “he trained well this week.”

The coach is therefore spoilt for choice against the Bundesliga’s only ever-present club, who are expected to show a different side to themselves from the 1-0 defeat earlier this season because “they have changed coaches since then.” The northern club also arrive in Munich on a run of four unbeaten games. “Hamburg are a good team and in good form right now. They defend well, have quality on the counter and quick forwards. We have to give our all and play with maximum intensity for the full 90 minutes,” said Ancelotti in analysis of the side currently sitting 15th.

Confident HSV

His opposite number is also optimistic ahead of the tie with the record champions because of his side’s current form. Even the upcoming DFB Cup game next week is no reason for Markus Gisdol’s side to take their foot off the gas. “If the question is whether we rest players or throw everything we have, then the answer can only be the latter! We’re confident right now of delivering a good performance there,” said the 47-year-old in hope of an attacking show.

Some bad news for the HSV coach is the injury situation ahead of the game against the table-toppers. Winter signing Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who has played a big part in the team’s current run, is out injured. Appearances for captain Gotoku Sakai, defensive leader Mergim Mavraj and forward Bobby Wood are also in doubt.