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'It helps us assess where we are'

Second test against Real

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More than an hour before arrival, numerous local fans were waiting for the FC Bayern players at the team hotel. The supporters wore jerseys and held posters, lining the barriers at the entrance for the team bus, exchanging "Bayern, Bayern" chants. On arrival the Bayern pros signed countless autographs and posed for photos before taking to their rooms.

An even bigger crowd will welcome Niko Kovac' team at NRG Stadium on Saturday at 7pm local time, when Bayern take on Real Madrid, arguably their most prestigious opponents on the Audi Summer Tour. "I'm looking forward to the match, as are the lads. It's a great stadium with a great atmosphere," commented the Bayern coach.

Thiago's respect for Real Madrid

Thiago is fired up for the duel with the men from the Spanish capital, who hoisted the Champions League trophy three times in a row from 2016 to 2018: "It helps us to take on the best teams during pre-season so we can assess where we are," revealed the Spaniard, showing respect to his compatriots. "It's very hard to win the Champions League once, but they achieved it three times in a row!"

"We're taking tomorrow's match very seriously, just like the first match," Kovac announced. The 47-year-old left open whether he would replace the entire team at half-time, as he did in the game against Arsenal. The climatic conditions are different thanks to the stadium's closed roof, so "a few players can get more playing time." One candidate would be Renato Sanches, who missed the first match with a knee problem. Kovac confirmed the Portuguese is available again.

As in all Audi Summer Tour games, Kovac will focus on gaining new insights for the upcoming season in the encounter with the star-studded ensemble featuring World Player of the Year Luca Modric, 2014 world champion Toni Kroos and new signing Eden Hazard. "The trip has been an absolute success story so far. We were very pleased in Los Angeles, and I'm sure we will be in Houston too."