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FCB v Schalke

Sammer: It’s a must-win match

Due to their continuing commitments in the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB Cup, FC Bayern cannot afford any let-up in the run-in to the end of the season. In between the do-or-die matches away to Benfica and against cup semi-final opponents Werder Bremen, the German record champions return to the bread-and-butter of the Bundesliga. In Saturday's home match against Schalke 04 (Live in English from 18.30 CET on Twitter and Web Radio) the Reds aim to take the next step towards a fourth championship title in a row

“We move on from the Champions League. Bundesliga routine is all that counts tomorrow. We have nothing to give away. We absolutely have to win,” said sporting director Matthias Sammer on Friday. The seventh-placed visitors, who are in contention for a Champions League qualifying spot, have only taken four points from their last four matches, but “whenever they’ve been struggling they showed a reaction. We have to be prepared for that,” cautioned Sammer.

The more so as the Ruhr valley outfit had no midweek match whereas Bayern contested 90 intense minutes in Lisbon. “We have seven games in three weeks in which everything's at stake,” commented Sammer with regard to the packed schedule in the race for all three titles. “If you ease off by one or two percent you end up second.”

'It's a final tomorrow'

“It's going to be a very, very hard game because we have the shortest week possible,” said Lahm, referring to the very limited regeneration time between fixtures. But there are no excuses, only a victory counts for FCB. “We have to win. We mustn't carelessly let our lead over Dortmund shrink,” stressed Lahm.

FCB are seven points clear of chief competitors Borussia, who take on Hamburg on Sunday. “We still need two victories and one draw to win and achieve my dream, the fourth German championship title in a row,” calculated Guardiola. Sammer is certain of one thing: “Dortmund won't drop any more points, so we should watch out. It's a final tomorrow.”

It remains to be seen who will play on Saturday. The table-toppers returned from Lisbon without major injury concerns, but Guardiola may opt to rotate his squad. His main task is to communicate to the players that “we haven't wrapped up the championship title yet,” the Catalan insisted. However, a victory on Saturday would mean “almost winning the Bundesliga.”

Pre-match news from Schalke 04:

  • Unavailable: Benedikt Höwedes (sprain), Sead Kolasinac (suspended), Marco Höger, Atsuto Uchida, Leon Goretzka, Matija Nastasic (sports rehab), Sidney Sam (torn muscle)

  • Coach André Breitenreiter: "We're definitely underdogs, but we'll still go to Munich in good spirits and aim for a positive result. If our attitude to the match is to go looking for a hiding place we'll have no chance. We'll give it our best shot and try to get a result.“