David Alaba says Bayern Munich “know who they are” and will be “full of self-confidence” as they prepare to continue their tilt for UEFA Champions League glory.
The 28-year-old played the majority of the season at centre-back, and having already won the Bundesliga and DFB Cup in 2019/20, he is eager to make it another treble-winning campaign.
Alaba admitted there is “still a long way to go” before the Bundesliga champions can repeat their unprecedented feat from the 2012/13 season, “but if you look at our form in the second half of the season, our chances aren’t bad”.
There is no denying that. Hansi Flick’s side are unbeaten so far in 2020 after winning 16 of their 17 Bundesliga games since the turn of the year to lift an eighth consecutive Meisterschale, while they also triumphed over Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB Cup final on 4 July.
Now, after returning to training on Friday following almost three weeks off, Bayern are gearing up for their rescheduled Champions League last-16 second leg tie against Chelsea on Saturday 8 August, with the Reds holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg in London in February.
“We’ll only know afterwards whether having a longer break is an advantage or disadvantage,” Alaba told kicker, with reference to domestic competitions in England, Spain and Italy finishing significantly later than the Bundesliga.
Watch: Alaba's Bundesliga mixtape
Ultimately, however, the Austria international believes it is down to the players themselves to overcome any challenges: “We’re not going there to look for excuses – we’re going there full of self-confidence. We know who we are and want to show that out on the pitch. We’ve got a new pre-season now and we need to focus on the tournament.”
If, as expected, Bayern go through, they will book their place at the restructured Champions League finals tournament to be held in Portugal next month.
A single-match quarter-final knockout tie against either Napoli or Barcelona would be their reward, with Real Madrid, Manchester City, Lyon and Juventus the possible opponents in the semi-finals (on 19 August), with the final planned for 23 August.