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Home straight begins against Augsburg

'We want to win every remaining game'

The international break is over and it’s now time for Bayern to get their heads down for the final push. “We have nine games in the next month,” stressed Carlo Ancelotti the day before the home Bundesliga game against FC Augsburg (Saturday, 15:30CEST, follow via our live ticker or wed radio), which sees FCB begin a packed April. Matches include Bundesliga and DFB Cup Klassikers against Borussia Dortmund and the Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid.

However, the head coach is not fearful of such a schedule. “I have a good feeling,” said the 57-year-old, who only has eyes for the three points in the Bavarian derby. “Every game is important. Not just because of the result, but also because of the belief and confidence they bring to the team. If we play well, we leave with greater confidence.” Bayern should not be short of that right now.

Ulreich replaces Neuer

The German record champions are unbeaten in their last 19 competitive outings, including wins in the last six. And if Robert Lewandowski has anything to say on the matter, then that shouldn’t change. “We want to win every game left this season,” said the forward. The Pole was one of many FC Bayern players away with his national team in the last week.

Much to the relief of Ancelotti, all players have returned from their travels “in a good condition.” Only Manuel Neuer, who has had an operation on his toe, and Douglas Costa will be unavailable against Augsburg because of injury. Besides them, Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez are both ineligible due to suspension. Ancelotti has already stated that Jerome Boateng will return to the starting XI and Sven Ulreich will deputise in goal. “We have the utmost belief in him,” Ancelotti reiterated.

Augsburg want to ‘fight, scratch and bite’

His opposite number sees it in a similar manner too. The change in the Bayern goal is in no way an advantage to Manuel Baum and his team. “They still have two or three proven goalkeepers behind Manuel Neuer,” said the Augsburg coach, who himself has some personnel worries. Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (not match-fit), Raphael Framberger (meniscus), Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (knee), Caiuby (knee) and Ja-Cheol Koo (suspended) will all be absent for the visit to Munich.

However, Baum will once again have midfielders Dominik Kohr, Jan Moravek and Daniel Baier as well as striker Alfred Finnbogason available once more. The Fuggerstädter will be reliant on his goals as the 14th-placed side currently have just a two-point advantage over the relegation play-off place and are desperate for points. The coach therefore asserted, “We want to play with bravery. We want to fight, scratch and bite.”

Ancelotti has great respect for that. “Augsburg have a good team and have always played well in Munich. They are well organised in defence and will look to counter. We have to watch out for that,” he warned, before demanding his team to “attack and win.”