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‘Like a final'

FC Bayern target place in last eight

The next stage in FC Bayern’s quest for a 21st appearance in the DFB Cup final is the last sixteen meeting with Eintracht Braunschweig at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening (Live in English from 20:30 CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio). The going-in position prior to the teams’ sixth meeting in the competition is clear enough, with the cup’s most successful team in the shape of Munich on the one hand, and on the other the side lying sixth in Bundesliga 2, who have yet to win in 2015.

“I’ve learned what a great day out the final in Berlin is,” enthused Bayern boss Pep Guardiola, who tasted the unique atmosphere at the venerable Olympiastadion last season. However, the Catalan urged his men not to underestimate Wednesday’s opponents from Lower Saxony: “People think we’re already through, but we’ll need our best performance. If we manage that, we have a good chance of making the next round – and obviously, we want to make the quarter-finals.”

Berlin in Bayern’s sights

The players long ago took that message on board. “We know Berlin has a big role in German and European football this year, and we want to be there. We want to spend a day or two in Berlin in late May and early June,” quipped Thomas Müller. “But for now we have to make sure we beat Braunschweig,” cautioned defender Holger Badstuber: “It’ll be a tough task.”

The Lions have drawn three and lost three so far this year, but they have nothing whatsoever to lose in Munich on Wednesday. “Anything can happen,” noted Guardiola, well aware of the danger in a one-off knockout match: “It’s like a final.” In Spain, where cup ties are two-legged affairs, “it’s a lot easier for the big teams,” the 44-year-old remarked.

196 goals in last 63 games

For this reason alone, Guardiola announced he would be fielding his “best available team” in the contest for a last eight berth. The coach feels FCB have no need to fear surprises from their opponents: “We played them twice last season. Torsten Lieberknecht is still the coach and they still play the same football, although they do have a few new players.”

The odds are stacked heavily in favour of the 17-time cup winners, who have never lost at home to Eintracht in the Bundesliga and cup. Bayern have even kept clean sheets in their last six meetings with Braunschweig, last conceding a goal to Eintracht back in September 1983. FCB also boast terrific form in the cup: the Reds have won their last 14 ties and have scored 196 goals in their last 63 matches in the competition.

Pre-match news from Eintracht Braunschweig

  • Unavailable: Havard Nielsen (sprain), Marc Pfitzner (sprain), Deniz Dogan (sprain), Dennis Kruppke (knee surgery)

  • Coach Torsten Lieberknecht: “We’ll prepare well and we’re aiming to give a good account of ourselves. The team is ready to go beyond the pain barrier. We’ve looked very decent against FCB recently. We’ll resist as best we can and aim to do better than certain top flight clubs have done recently.”