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Birthday match preview

Gnabry and Müller back in squad for Köln

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This Saturday marks a very special day for FC Bayern. On 27 February 2021, the German record champions turn 121. What could be better on this day of celebration than a home game at the Allianz Arena? At 15:30 CET (live text and webradio commentary on, FCB host 1. FC Köln on Matchday 23. Check out our preview for everything you need to know about the clash with the Billy Goats.

Enjoy the best images from Bayern's final training session before the birthday clash in our gallery:

The situation for FC Bayern

After the narrow 2-1 defeat in Frankfurt, Bayern's lead at the top of the table has shrunk to two points. Hansi Flick's team must now win on the club's birthday, if they're to guarantee retaining their place at the top of the pile. The impressive 4-1 win at Lazio last week, when the men from Munich performed brilliantly and dominated their opponents should certainly give them confidence. "There, we stuck to the plan in a disciplined manner. I expect the same tomorrow against Köln. The team must show absolute resolve and build on the performance at Lazio," demanded Flick of his players in the press conference on Friday.

Find out here about the other important games being played on Matchday 23:

The opponents: 1. FC Köln

The Billy Goats are currently sitting in 14th place, just three points clear of the relegation play-off spot. But even though they lost their last two games, they did manage to picked up points away from home this season at Dortmund (2-1), Leipzig (0-0) and at the beginning of February at Borussia Mönchengladbach (2-1). So Bayern should be on their guard, because Markus Gisdol intends to take every chance with his team in Munich. "We know we've performed well against top teams. If Bayern give us the chance to grab something, then we have to be ready," said the Köln coach.

Team news for Bayern vs. Köln

Thomas Müller trained individually again at Säbener Straße for the first time on Thursday.

Flick will be pleased he can welcome two returnees back on Saturday, as Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller have returned to the squad. "He had an individual session yesterday and trained by himself at home beforehand. Thomas has a good foundation, which is to his advantage. We've not yet decided to what extent we'll use him," said the coach. Still absent though will be Corentin Tolisso (ruptured tendon), Benjamin Pavard (self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19), Alexander Nübel (rehabilitative training following an ankle ligament injury), Tanguy Nianzou (rehabilitative training following a torn thigh muscle) and Douglas Costa (hairline fracture in the right metatarsal).

As in the previous week, the visitors will be without Sebastian Andersson, Florian Kainz and Sebastiaan Bornauw. In addition, there's still a question mark hanging over captain Jonas Hector.

Team news, tactics and more: You can watch Hansi Flick's pre-match press conference before the match against Köln (with English translation) here:

What the coaches say

Hansi Flick: "Especially when you look at the games against Dortmund, Gladbach, Wolfsburg or Leipzig, Köln have produced good results against top teams. They're a team that defend well and compactly and when they win the ball, they get forward using their fast players. We have to have solutions for that. We're two points in front. We have to stay focused and confident, win our games and look to ourselves."

Markus Gisdol (1. FC Köln coach): "Bayern have shown that they're only human in the last few weeks. It's normal that they're sometimes not quite focused. But you also saw what happens when they're as focused as they were in the Champions League match against Lazio. At times like that it's always impressive to watch Bayern Munich. They're playing against a top team from Italy and the opponents don't know what to do. Bayern's class is impressive."

If you want to know more about the home game against Köln, check out our facts and stats: