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Bundesliga Matchday 22
  • 1' Leon Goretzka (OG)
  • 23' Dong-Won Ji
FC Augsburg
2 : 3
(2:2)
FC Bayern Munich
  • 17' Kingsley Coman
  • 45'+3 Kingsley Coman
  • 53' David Alaba
  • 1' Leon Goretzka (OG)
  • 23' Dong-Won Ji
  • 17' Kingsley Coman
  • 45'+3 Kingsley Coman
  • 53' David Alaba
FCB visit Augsburg

Warming up for Liverpool at the 'Anfield of Bavaria'

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Before their trip to Liverpool for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie next Tuesday, Bayern face Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday night (live ticker from 2:30 PM EST). There can hardly be a better place to warm up for the clash at the legendary Anfield than the WWK Arena in Augsburg, a stadium that was given the nickname of the “Anfield of Bavaria” by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung due to its great atmosphere.

“All of us know that the game at Augsburg is very important in terms of the atmosphere for the next game, namely Liverpool,” stated coach Niko Kovac ahead of the match against the team currently in 15th place. “We’ll certainly be fully focused on this match. The match on Friday will set us up for the next one. If we do well there, then we also have a chance at Liverpool,” added Kovac.

Although next week’s fixture in north-west England is the one that’s on everyone’s lips, Kovac stressed the importance of the league meeting with their Bavarian neighbors. “We can’t underestimate the task, and we don’t want to do that. After all, we can move really close [to Dortmund] in the Bundesliga, at least for a short time.” Following last weekend’s results, Bayern are five points behind the leaders, who don’t play until Monday when they travel to bottom side 1. FC Nürnberg. A win would therefore see the Reds cut that gap to two points.

Neuer fit again – Augsburg with injury worries

They know it won’t be easy, though. Relegation-threatened Augsburg ground out a point at the Allianz Arena in the reverse fixture, which started Bayern’s poor run of four home games without a win. Kovac therefore knows what to expect: a team full of running and commitment, whose aim will again be to make life difficult for the visitors. “We’re preparing for everything and need to find the right solutions and decisions,” said the 47-year-old.

On the personnel front, Kovac has nearly a full squad at his disposal. Apart from Arjen Robben and Corentin Tolisso, everyone is available – including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. “The medical department gave me the go-ahead. I’m ready,” declared the captain on Thursday. And the Champions League assignment won’t affect Kovac’s selection. “We have no reason whatsoever to rest anybody,” he said. “We’ve had a normal week and enough time to rest and recover. The lads are physically fit.”

Augsburg boss Manuel Baum, on the other hand, is missing several key players. The hosts, who have won just one of their last 12 Bundesliga matches, are without suspended captain Daniel Baier as well as the injured Alfred Finnbogason and Jeffrey Gouweleeuw. Jan Moravek (bruise), Ja-Cheol Koo (back) and André Hahn (calf) could also miss out. Despite the unfavorable circumstances, Baum is confident he’ll have “a powerful team on the pitch”.