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back Champions League | 22.10.2013 18:28:15

Ribery returns for Plzen test

  • European Footballer of the Year Franck Ribery is set to return to the starting fold on Wednesday
  • Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola does not expect Plzen to be a pushover
  • Defender Jerome Boateng (l.) is suspended, but Mario Götze (r.) will almost certainly play some part

Munich - Kings of Europe FC Bayern München will look to ram home their advantage at the top of UEFA Champions League Group D with victory over Czech outfit FC Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday (kick-off 20:45 CST).

The defending champions were simply irresistible against Manchester City FC last time out, coasting to a dominant 3-1 win and fully justifying their tag as the team to beat in this year's competition.

'Up the ante'


"We've put ourselves in a really, really good position to get out of the group with six points from two games," explained Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. "Now we want to up the ante [...] This is the Champions League. We have the opportunity to go and get another three points."

Bayern have certainly made a habit of that of late, having won their last seven Champions League outings. Suffice to say, head coach Pep Guardiola has his heart set on keeping that run going a good while longer: "Twelve points from four games are usually enough for a place in the last 16, but first we have to get past Plzen."

'It's down to us'


Cautious overtones are to be expected from the Group D leaders, but on paper the Czech champions' chances of coming away from the Allianz Arena with anything other than a third European defeat of the season look slim to say the least.

That's not to say any of the Bayern camp will be taking the challenge lightly - least of all the man who has seen and done it all at Europe's top table with former club FC Barcelona. "If we give them time, they have the ability to play good football," warned Guardiola. "It's down to us. I expect to see the best from my team."

Star parade


The Catalan's projected team sheet undoubtedly has the look of the superlative about it, following the news that Franck Ribery came though team training unscathed after picking up an ankle injury in the warm-up to the Matchday 9 win over 1. FSV Mainz 05.

Instrumental to Saturday's turnaround, Mario Götze is also expected to play some part, while Daniel van Buyten and Jan Kirchhoff are being tipped to to join forces at centre half, with Brazil international Dante (foot) ruled out for two weeks and Jerome Boateng suspended.

Possible line-ups:

FC Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, van Buyten, Kirchhoff, Alaba - Lahm - Robben, Schweinsteiger, T. Kroos, Ribery - T. Müller

Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik - Rajtoral, Cisovsky, Hubnik, Reznik - Horava, Horvath - Petrzela, Kolar, Kovarik - Bakos

Christopher Mayer-Lodge

You can see how Bayern fared on Matchday 9 with our round-up of all of the weekend's goals, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel.

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