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After four consecutive wins

Keep the run going against Freiburg

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FC Bayern are finally back home. Exactly four weeks since the last match at the Allianz Arena, the German champions return with four victories from their travels when they host SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday with the chance to cut the two-point gap to league leaders Borussia Dortmund (kick-off at 15:30 CET, coverage available in our live ticker).

“We’ve won four games in a row and of course want to make that five and remain in the hunt in the league,” said FCB coach Niko Kovac on Friday after training with his team at Säbener Straße. Looking ahead to next week’s games against AEK Athens and Dortmund, it’s important “that we get a win tomorrow. Victories give you confidence,” Kovac added.

The coach once again has further options for his team compared to Tuesday’s win at Rödinghausen. “All players who were ill or had problems are fit, so we’ve got 16 fit outfield players for tomorrow,” Kovac stressed. It means Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, James and Arjen Robben, who also missed last weekend’s trip to Mainz through suspension, are once again available.

Who will replace Thiago?

However, Bayern will have to do without Thiago for a number of weeks because of an ankle injury he picked up on Tuesday. The Spain international had so far had “an extraordinarily good season, which makes his absence even harder,” bemoaned Kovac. The man who could fill the gap for his technical abilities in midfield is “without doubt” James Rodriguez, but Leon Goretzka, Renato Sanches and Thomas Müller are also options.

Visitors Freiburg have lost just one of their last seven league games, and Kovac was praised them as “a difficult team to face, who cover a lot of ground and have good players. Freiburg are having a really good season.” However, the Black Forest side have big personnel concerns ahead of their trip to Munich. Striker and former FCB man Nils Petersen picked up a muscle injury in the DFB Cup loss to Holstein Kiel and joins Lukas Kübler, Jerome Gondorf, Florian Niederlechner, Amir Abrashi, Brandon Borrello and Caleb Stanko on the sidelines. There are also questions marks over Manuel Gulde and Luca Waldschmidt.

Despite the difficult situation, Freiburg boss Christian Streich stressed, “we’ll do everything and head to Munich with courage and togetherness. It’s always something special to face Bayern, and you need to have respect for them, but we also want to take them on so we finally manage not to lose there.” Streich himself has lost all five of his matches in charge away at Bayern, while Freiburg have lost their last 14 in a row at the record champions. “Everything is possible. Every game has its own story. And maybe we can win there in my lifetime.”

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