Created on 22-10-2018 at 18:00 PM
Athens is the next port of call for FC Bayern. Tuesday evening's match away to AEK is the second of four consecutive games on the road. After a victory and a draw so far, the German record champions aim to take another three points in the Champions League group meeting with the Greek champions (live in English from 18.55 CEST on our exclusive fcbayern.com ticker).
"It's an important week. Ideally we want to finish top of the group in the Champions League, so we must try to take three points away to AEK," stressed chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge before departure to the Greek capital on Monday morning. The team took "a first important step" away to Wolfsburg on Saturday, said Rummenigge: "I hope more will follow, and that in Athens we'll pick up where we left off on Saturday."
Niko Kovac's men are on four points in Group E, level with Ajax. However, the Dutchmen are ahead on goal difference. AEK Athens are bottom after two defeats, behind Benfica on three points. It came as no surprise that Arjen Robben demanded: "We must try to win both matches against AEK. If so, things will look good in the group stage."
Robben is set to make his 109th appearance in Europe's premier club competition, which makes him the most experienced player ahead of the match. The winger is looking forward to a "cracking mood and a great atmosphere" and "good opponents who're very successful in Greece. We'll have to be well-prepared and try to stick to our game plan." Rummenigge believes it will be "important to approach the match focused and motivated rather than thinking it'll be a walkover."
Kovac expecting 'difficult match'
Kovac too expects "opponents who'll be driven on at their stadium, they'll have fanastic support from their fans." The Bayern head coach described AEK as a "technically strong" side with "good individual players" who will fight for their "last chance" in the group. "That doesn't make it easier. We want to win the match, but we also know it's not going to be easy. We'll have to give it everything. A difficult match awaits."
Niklas Süle is expecting an "interesting match. I'm looking forward to a hotly-contested contest, I've heard many good things about the fans in Greece. The fans are very, very emotional. We want to play with total conviction from the first minute. I think we're the better team, but we must put that into practice first. We must put up a fight to achieve a positive result."
Bayern will be without Franck Ribéry on Tuesday evening as the winger is sidelined with back pain. "It didn't make sense for him to join us. He's in better hands in Munch," declared Rummenigge. Serge Gnabry might replace the Frenchman. "He can play outstandingly well in this position," commented Joshua Kimmich. Left-back David Alaba is rated doutbful. Whether the Austrian can play will be decided on the matchday. Sandro Wagner, who was not in the squad against Wolfsburg, will return to matchday duty against AEK.