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Break's over

FCB begin 'important period' in Hoffenheim

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Things are really hotting up now. Saturday’s away match at 1899 Hoffenheim (12:30 PM EST kick-off, live ticker and Webradio commentary on kicks off a busy month for FC Bayern. “It’s the start of an important period,” Carlo Ancelotti told the press on Friday. His team play seven matches in the Bundesliga and Champions League in September, so it’s a good job the 58 year-old has most of his squad available.

“The squad’s fit, almost everyone’s come back from the internationals in good condition,” said a content Ancelotti. Only David Alaba picked up an injury and will miss Saturday’s match along with Juan Bernat (ligament tear) and Jérôme Boateng, who is not quite ready for action yet. “We’ll make a decision on Vidal and James [who only returned to Munich on Thursday] after the final training session,” explained the Italian.

Ancelotti confirms rotation

Rafinha is likely to take Alaba’s place in the side: “He played very well against Dortmund in the Supercup,” commented Ancelotti. He left the other positions open, though. “Everyone will play a part in the coming weeks, so I’ll be rotating. No one is guaranteed to play,” stressed Ancelotti, who has big respect for their fourth-placed opponents.

“Hoffenheim are a dangerous team,” he warned. ‘Die Kraichgauer’ were the last side to beat FCB in the league and Bayern only collected one point against them last season. “They still have the same identity even though they’ve lost important players,” said the Reds’ coach, referring to the likes of Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy who will be on the visiting side tomorrow.

Injury worries for hosts

The pair are clearly looking forward to the game and Rudy has already warned about the opposition coach: “I think he’ll come up with a plan that will give them the best chance.” Rudy’s worry was underpinned by Julian Nagelsmann’s own words. “We feel like we can cause them problems,” said the 30 year-old, who has several injury problems to deal with.

Bayern loanee Serge Gnabry (ankle) and striker Adam Szalai (adductor) are definitely out, while Kevin Vogt (knee), Benjamin Hübner (thigh) and Steven Zuber (knock) are doubts. “It’s not looking very rosy,” said Nagelsmann, who nevertheless is not giving up. “If Bayern have a bad day at the office and we have a very good one, then we have a chance of getting something.”