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Away to City

‘Totally focused’ FCB aim for fifth Group E win

Whenever Bayern travel to England, a great deal usually rests on the outcome of the match – like in last season’s Champions League, when a 3-1 victory away to Manchester City, a 2-0 success against Arsenal and a 1-1 draw with Manchester United left the Bavarians handily placed to make the next round. This season, the men from Munich arrive in the north-west of England as confirmed winners of Group E, but there are still clear targets for the meeting with Manchester City on Tuesday evening (Live in English from 20:45 / 8.45 pm CET on Twitter and Web Radio).

“We want to play well and successfully,” declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as FCB go in search of their fifth win in five group fixtures. “You have to go out and enjoy Champions League matches,” stated Arjen Robben. Manuel Neuer said he is looking forward to a “special match,” in which there is more at stake than merely three points, namely “prize money and points for the UEFA ranking,” as Rummenigge pointed out.

Pep Guardiola, who is still without the eight players who missed the weekend clash with Hoffenheim due to injury, also made no secret of his targets for the match in the north-west of England. “We’re very happy to be through to the next round. But this is the Champions League! There’s a lot of prestige at stake – for the club and for me,” said the head coach after the squad’s arrival in Manchester. “We play so we can continue to develop our playing style, and every match is a great opportunity for that. That’s why we’re here!”

'Professional and focused’

Thomas Müller believes Tuesday’s match will be “a very interesting contest away to very high quality opponents. We want to use games like these to take the next step, so we’ll be totally focused on the job we have to do.” Jérôme Boateng, who scored the last-gasp winner in the reverse fixture and has recovered from a dead leg in time for the latest reunion with his former club, offered a similar opinion: “City have to take all three points, but there’s less riding on it for us. We want to play well, and we’re determined to win!”

It is true that nothing less than a win will realistically do for the Sky Blues. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have only two points from four matches and lag both AS Roma and CSKA Moscow by two points. “Tomorrow we will see the team fighting until the end to continue in the Champions League and I hope we can do it,” promised the Chilean coach, who is without Yaya Touré and Fernandinho due to suspension.

For their part, Bayern will not be distracted by City’s predicament in the group. “City were Premier League champions twice in the last three years,” said former Liverpool enforcer Xabi Alonso, “they’re among the best teams in Europe.” Robben, who also knows his English football well from a spell with Chelsea, issued a similar warning: “We have to take a professional and focused approach.” And City’s ex-Bayern stalwart Martin Demichelis knows all too well that FCB will not simply concede the points without a fight: “I know the German mentality. FC Bayern have come here to win.”