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Lewandowski fit

FCB fired up for ‘highlight’ against Wolfsburg

The clash between FC Bayern and VfL Wolfsburg in front of a capacity Allianz Arena crowd on Tuesday evening (Live in English from 20.00 CET on Twitter and Web Radio) is easily the biggest game on Bundesliga Matchday 6. “The champions against last season’s runners-up and cup holders, in the evening under floodlights. It could hardly be more exciting. Football festivals like these are the highlights of every Bundesliga season,” declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge ahead of the showdown with the Wolves.

VfL won the last two meetings between the teams, neither of which was in Munich. The Wolves most recently prevailed on penalties in the German Supercup seven weeks ago. By contrast, Bayern have never lost to Wolfsburg on their home field. “They’re a top team,” said Pep Guardiola, “I have great respect. We’ll need the best-possible performance if we’re to win.”

Chairman: A pivotal match

The sides are not far apart in the standings either where both remain unbeaten after five games, Bayern with five wins and Wolfsburg with three wins and two draws. However, FCB can put seven points between themselves and VfL with a win on Tuesday. “We need three points,” urged Rummenigge, “it’s an important, pivotal match.”

Wolfsburg have emerged as genuine title contenders in recent years, noted Guardiola, and seem to have compensated for the departure of German Player of the Year Kevin de Bruyne. Dieter Hecking, praised by Guardiola as “one of the best coaches, and not only in Germany,” has duly made a slight change to his formation, with Julian Draxler and Max Kruse currently operating in central attacking midfield. However, the Wolves have retained their basic playing style: “Good build-up play, good positioning, good organisation.”

Reunion with Dante

Speaking on the eve of the game, Guardiola had nothing but praise for every aspect of the visiting team. The Spaniard believes Dante, who left FCB for VfL a few weeks ago, has made Hecking’s side stronger. “Dante knows us and our strikers know him. But that’s just a minor detail,” said Guardiola, “the coach might speak to him, but nowadays the coach knows everything about his opponents anyway. We know each other very well.”

With the exception of the long-term injury absentees, Guardiola picks from a full-strength squad for Tuesday night’s match. Robert Lewandowski missed the weekend trip to Darmstadt with a bruised foot but is now fit again. “I’m feeling very good,” the Pole told He too can hardly wait for kick-off: “We have to go for it. We want to be top of the table.”

Build-up news from Wolfsburg:

Coach Dieter Hecking: “I think we’re a long way off being Bayern’s equals. We shouldn’t start thinking we’ve closed the gap. That’s unrealistic, but we’ve shown we can keep up with Bayern on a good day, although for that we’ll need a lot of courage and determination. We need to keep getting at them. If all you do when you go to Munich is park the bus, you’ll inevitably concede a goal at some point.”

Unavailable: Casteels (swollen toe), Felipe (fractured metatarsal), Vieirinha (hamstring)