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Full throttle

Ancelotti demands high tempo in Gladbach

FC Bayern find themselves in an unusual position this weekend. While Borussia Mönchengladbach were in Europa League action in midweek (narrowly losing to Schalke), the Munich boys could put their feet up – they’d already completed their assignment in the Champions League the week before. On Sunday, then, a recuperated Bayern will face a weary Gladbach (kick-off at 17:30 CET, live ticker and Webradio commentary).

“Maybe it’s an advantage – but only if we play with lots of intensity,” said Carlo Ancelotti, demanding 100% effort from his players. Bayern haven’t found it easy in Mönchengladbach in the past. The league leaders have only won two of their last nine Bundesliga away games against the Foals! “We’ll try to keep up this intensity for 90 minutes. As long as we play our game and play with a high tempo then we have a good chance,” said Ancelotti optimistically. “Gladbach have had a tough week so hopefully we can use that to our advantage. Our tank should be full and we’ll be going full speed,” commented Thomas Müller.

On the personnel front, Ancelotti has very few concerns. Douglas Costa and the suspended Arturo Vidal are the only players unavailable to the Italian, with the rest of squad “in good condition and fit to play”. The Bayern boss is therefore almost spoilt for choice. “It’s the most difficult decision I have because I can only pick eleven players,” said Ancelotti. “But I’m lucky that all my players are fit.” That includes the returning Jérôme Boateng, although he is not yet ready to play from the start. “He needs time to get back into top condition.”

“My players are focussed”

Ancelotti regards rejuvenated Borussia as strong opponents. “Mönchengladbach have done very well in the last few months. They’re well-organised in defence and play very quickly on the break. They’re a good side,” said Ancelotti of the ninth-placed Foals. “I think Dieter Hecking is doing a good job there. But we’re in good form too and my players are focussed. I hope we can deliver a good performance.”

Hecking has the task of lifting his team after being knocked out of the Europa League by Schalke on away goals. “Overall we were very unlucky to get knocked out. But that’s football – and we need to accept it and move on,” said the Gladbach coach, who will be without Fabian Johnson (muscle tear) and Christoph Kramer (knee ligament damage).

Thorgan Hazard (knee) is also likely to miss out again, while Mahmoud Dahoud and Lars Stindl are doubts. “You can play brilliantly against Bayern and still lose. It goes without saying we’re the underdogs,” added Hecking.