Created on 2016-12-20 at 14:26 PM by Redaktion
FC Bayern take on RB Leipzig in the last match before the winter break on Wednesday (Live in English from 20.00 CET in our live ticker and on FCBayern.tv Web Radio), and the encounter between the German record champions and the Bundesliga new boys is also a showdown between the sides lying first and second in the table. "The top clash in German football at this point: who would have thought it at the beginning of the season?" commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Carlo Ancelotti called the encounter "a fantastic match for everyone who loves football. It's important, but not decisive. But we want to win of course."
With the holidays on the horizon, the Bavarians expect very tough opposition in the final match of the year. "Leipzig will make it more difficult for us than hardly any other team," said Rummenigge, calling the newcomers' displays in the first half of the season "very strong. I have the highest respect for the performances of this team and their coach."
"We must focus on our own quality"
"A decent performance won't do against Leipzig," warned Mats Hummels, who like all Bavarians and probably all football fans is surprised by the promoted side: "They've played at a very high level from Matchday 1. Nobody would have expected them to go on like this." Ancelotti agreed: "Leipzig have surprised everyone. They have a young team with lots of enthusiasm. They play as a team, with high intensity, and they're quick on the break."
Ancelotti cautioned against these strengths. "But we have to focus on our own quality rather than the opposition's," the 57-year-old stressed. "We don't need to change anything. Instead, we must control the game with our style, our identity and concentration." The Bayern head coach identified "the balance" between defence and attack as the "key factor" for a successful finale.
Lahm and Robben ready
The injury roster has not grown before the match against Leipzig. Only Jérôme Boateng, Kingsley Coman and Julian Green miss out with injury. Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm have shaken off muscular problems and reported fit on Tuesday. "Robben is okay. Lahm is okay. They exercised today. No problem." Ancelotti has a plan regarding the starting line-up, but the final decision will be made on the matchday. There will be "no revolution" in terms of the line-up, the Italian revealed.
Bayern are ready for the last big match of the year. "Small against big, promoted side against Bayern Munich: the game is wonderful for the whole German footballing family as the final match of the year," commented Thomas Müller, before concluding: "It will be wonderful for us too, provided we win."
Pre-match news from Leipzig:
Sporting director Ralf Rangnick: "In terms of individual quality, we're up against probably the best opponents we've ever faced. If we want to win we need the best performance possible. But I trust our team. Everything's optional, there's no obligation this time. Wednesday's match is a bonus game for us, we can only win in this match."
Coach Ralph Hasenhüttl: "FC Bayern are one of the best teams in the world. We'll have courage, a clear plan and lots of confidence, and we won't hide. I want our opponents to be forced to turn in more than 110 kilometres and feel on the next day they've taken on RB Leipzig. We want to make it as difficult as possible for FC Bayern."
Unavailable: Marvin Compper (ankle injury), Ken Gipson (broken ankle), Lukas Klostermann (torn crucial ligament), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (knee)
Doubtful: Marcel Halstenberg (bruised thigh), Naby Keita (thigh)