Munich - A surprise 3-1 defeat to Belarusian side BATE Borisov in the UEFA Champions League may have brought FC Bayern Munich's run of winning nine consecutive games in all competitions to an abrupt halt, but their league streak lives on.
Now, as the Bavarians turn their attention to equalling a Bundesliga record seven straight victories at the start of a season, 1899 Hoffenheim could provide the perfect opposition at the Allianz Arena on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET).
The record titleholders have never lost against the Sinsheim outfit, winning five of their eight encounters, including last year's in in Munich. On that occasion Jupp Heynckes' side were reeling after a 2-0 defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen and this time round it's an unexpected loss in Europe that they're hoping to recover from.
"I think it's crucial that we don't allow this defeat to throw us of course," stated chairman of the board Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "It's important that we respond immediately against Hoffenheim on Saturday, go full throttle once again and show our Bundesliga rivals that Bayern may have lost, but we aren't down and out."
While Arjen Robben will be absent through injury and Franck Ribery is a doubt with muscle complaints, Heynckes could welcome David Alaba back into his matchday squad. Refusing to criticise his side's Champions League display, the 67-year-old was instead complimentary of Tuesday's opponents. "The team fought passionately. The way they performed was extraordinary."
Goalkeeper Tom Starke, who moved to Bayern from 1899 in the summer, was quick to warn FCB about underestimating his former side following their recent upswing: "They made a poor start, but they've begun to recover with seven points from the last three matches, which is a good effort."
Seventh time lucky?
Returning to his former club hasn't been easy for Markus Babbel since he embarked on his managerial career. As head coach of Hoffenheim, Hertha BSC Berlin and VfB Stuttgart the ex-FCB defender has suffered defeat in four out of six encounters and is yet to beat die Münchner.
A 0-0 draw with FC Augsburg last weekend brought an end to a run of two wins on the trot for Hoffenheim, but considering they were without a point after three matches, things have certainly improved. "It's important that we continue along our current path," said Babbel, who will be without the suspended Sejad Salihovic.
Though winger Boris Vukcevic remains in a critical, but stable condition following a terrible car accident, Babbel's charges have been doing their best to "prepare as usual". "Confidence and hope is the overriding factor," said the 40-year-old. "We've got to try to go about our daily routine somehow."
Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Badstuber - Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger - Robben, Kroos, Ribery - Mandzukic
Hoffenheim: Casteels - Beck, Delpierre, Compper, Johnson - Williams, Rudy - Volland, Roberto Firmino, Usami - Joselu
James Thorogood in Munich