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Visit to the Cathedral City

FCB 'in good form' but wary of Köln

Two games, two wins – 11 goals scored, none conceded. The last week could not have gone much better for FC Bayern. Carlo Ancelotti and his team have had praise heaped on them in the build-up to the visit to 1. FC Köln on matchday 23 (Saturday, 15:30CET – live via our ticker and web radio). However, the Italian was not all too pleased with this, as he explained in his Friday press conference at Säbener Straße: “We always say in Italy: Praise now means problems later.”

The 57-year-old is aware that a very different game awaits them following the stellar performances against Hamburg and Schalke. “Köln are unbeaten at home since April 2016,” he warned. The Billy Goats have not lost in front of their own fans for 12 games (W6, D6), but Ancelotti is confident that this run could come to an end.

Confidence in the team

“It’ll be tough but I have confidence in my team because we’re on a good run,” said Ancelotti in praise of his players. One of the reasons for this current form is that he has almost all players available for selection. Jerome Boateng is the only player right now he can’t call upon, but there is good news from the centre-back. For more on the current personnel situation, head HERE.

The second leg of the Champions League last-16 clash in London on Tuesday will play no part in the team selection for the Köln game. “It’s an important game. We’ve got enough time after that to think about Arsenal,” stressed Ancelotti, who is not planning to rotate much.

Köln relying on home advantage

His opposite number can only dream of having such a desirable problem right now. Peter Stöger will be without defender Jonas Hector (suspended) and keeper Timo Horn (recovery training) at the weekend, and there are still question marks over Matthias Lehmann. However, the Austrian appears confident ahead of the game: “We’re looking forward to the game. Without a question it’ll be a massive challenge for us, but we know what sort of support we get at home. Our aim is to extend this run we have in front of our own fans.”

“We’ll be trying to get something from the game by taking our chances however they come,” according to the boss of the side currently sitting in seventh place. One of these chances will no doubt fall to striker Anthony Modeste, who Ancelotti has labelled as “a fantastic centre forward.” But he is not just the only reason why the record champions have to defend well to end Köln’s unbeaten home run.