The European champions beat 1899 Hoffenheim on Matchday 11 to equal Hamburger SV’s record of 36 games unbeaten, and now have their eyes trained on FC Barcelona’s milestone of nine consecutive victories in Europe’s premier club competition.
'Qualify as quickly as possible'
Bayern ran out 5-0 winners over Plzen on Matchday 3 in Group D and a repeat would write them into the annals of history. “Records are special,” acknowledged Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. “While the chance is here, we want to break as many as possible.” Although equalling records is Schweinsteiger's aim, the Bundesliga leaders are aware that a win would bring them more immediate benefits. “We want to take the three points home,” added the 29-year-old.
Three points would see the Bavarians out of Group D and into the last 16, provided Manchester City FC avoid defeat at home to PFC CSKA Moskva, and for Mario Götze, that is what matters most: “We want to qualify for the last 16 as quickly as possible. It’ll be easier to approach the remaining games knowing we’ve qualified, and we have plenty of matches in the next few weeks."
That is not to imply that a 5-0 scoreline and similarly dominant display like in Munich is a given in the 11,700 seater Doosan Arena. “The game will be different to that in the Allianz,” Schweinsteiger pointed out. “In front of their own fans they’ll find it easier and we have to be totally focused to make it difficult for them.”
Head coach Pep Guardiola echoed those sentiments, adding that he had “huge respect” for Plzen, the Czech champions, before insisting his players will be 100 per cent focused on the task at hand. “They [Plzen] won 6-1 at the weekend, but we’ve got the responsibility to ensure we qualify and reach the next round.”
Robben out, Martinez in?
Chasing a place in the last 16, Bayern will have to do without the services of Arjen Robben. The Dutchman failed to find the net on Matchday 3, despite scoring in the five preceding Champions League games and missed last weekend's win over Hoffenheim. “He’s not quite fit,” said Guardiola. “I hope he’s ready for the weekend since he’s an important player.” Aside from Robben, there are few personnel worries for the two-time Champions League winning coach.
The return of Guardiola’s compatriot Javi Martinez to first-team action came as a further boost for the club, who will be hoping they can return their focus to the Bundesliga until next February by secure a knockout berth on Tuesday night.
FC Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik - Rajtoral, Cisovsky, Prochazka, Hubnik - Horava, Horvath - Petrzela, Kolar, Duris - Tecl
FC Bayern München: Neuer - Rafinha, J. Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Lahm - T. Müller, Schweinsteiger, T. Kroos, Ribery - Mandzukic
Check out what FC Bayern's stars had to say after equalling Hamburg's record, exclusive to the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: