Created on 16-02-2018 at 11:30 AM
Jupp Heynckes has shaken off a heavy bout of flu before Saturday's match against Wolfsburg (Live in English from 15.30 CET on our exclusive fcbayern.com ticker), but the topic was still top of his mind when he returned to the Säbener Strasse. "My first act was to gather the team and talk about prevention measures. You don't have to be 72 to catch a cold easily," he commented on Friday after giving his troops advice on how to stay healthy: taking enough vitamins and minerals for example. Or "not leaving with wet hair after training. Dress for the weather. Be especially careful after matches, when your immune system is a little weaker."
Watch out! That's also FC Bayern's current motto whe it comes to football. "I think VfL Wolfsburg have really good players," stressed Heynckes, mentioning Daniel Didavi, Maximilian Arnold, Yunus Malli and others. The team lying 13th in the table are in a "negative spiral," but "still a good team, especially at home. We have to expect highly motivated opponents who know perfectly well they absolutely have to take points."
The Wolves demonstrated their qualities when they held Bayern to a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena in the first half of the season. Martin Schmidt's men have been hard to beat this term, only losing six matches, against Schalke and Leipzig for example. However, having shared the spoils 12 times so far, the men from Lower Saxony are draw experts.
The Bavarians are therefore highly focused. Heynckes denied that the Champions League match against Besiktas next Tuesday is on his mind, but he announced that he would use the the upcoming week including a midweek match for rotation. After all, all the players except Manuel Neuer are fit. Arturo Vidal is the only definite absentee away to Wolfsburg due to a one-match ban.
Thiago in the starting line-up
"If you have a squad like ours, a coach has to bear in mind that all the players want to take part in the contest," said the Bayern head coach. Any of the stars might end up starting on the bench: "Nobody is exempt. I want all my players to feel they belong. That's the only way to maintain long-term success."
Only one player is guaranteed a starting spot on Saturday, Heynckes revealed: "It's clear Thiago will play from the start in Wolfsburg tomorrow." The Spaniard is set to return after almost three months on the sidelines. He sustained a thigh injury in the Champions League match away to Anderlecht at the end of November, and will naturally be highly motivated on his comeback.