Munich - Fortuna Düsseldorf are the latest Bundesliga outfit charged with stopping the FC Bayern Munich juggernaut on Matchday 25 (kick-off 15:30 CET).
"Nothing to fear"
The Rhine club went down 5-0 on home soil in the reverse meeting earlier this season and now have the unenviable task of stifling a star-studded Bayern side intent on steamrolling every team and record that dare cross their path.
"We're going to try and do the impossible," stated Fortuna head coach Norbert Meier. "We have to stick together and stay compact. It will also be important to stop anything negative upsetting our rhythm. We've got nothing to fear." The omens don't exactly favour the underdogs, though, with Fortuna already having lost more times to Bayern (26) than to any other side in their topsy-turvy Bundesliga history, conceding 103 goals in the process.
Nevertheless, the 12th-placed outfit can't wait to get stuck in at Bayern's magnificent Allianz Arena, a stadium Meier considers the holy grail of German football: "It's wonderful that we can play there. For a lot of the lads, it'll be their first time in the stadium. We're playing against one of the favourites in the Champions League and one of the leading sides in Europe. There's not much more that can be said about the game."
If only that were true. You see, this Bayern side are not your average league leaders. This is a team that haven't tasted defeat in 22 competitive outings, a team that has won 30 from 36 games in all competitions this season, one that is not just chasing history but making it; a team on the road to greatness.
"We know what has made us so good this season," said Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten, who has missed only one league fixture since the winter break. "When you work with such classy players, every training session is a challenge which has to be tackled professionally. Every player could make the team, so every player has to concentrate."
Not that concentration or complacency have ever been a problem this term. "We respect Düsseldorf," explained Mario Mandzukic. "They need points, and every team always gives everything against Bayern, but we're ready for them. We're at home and want to maintain our winning run, preferably with another clean sheet."
Bayern recorded one of their 17 Bundesliga shutouts so far this term away at Fortuna on Matchday 8, with leading scorer Mandzukic putting in another fine shift in the lone strker role. Rest assured the Croatian international will be hoping for much more of the same as he looks to add to his 15 Bundesliga goals this season on Saturday afternoon.
Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, van Buyten, Dante, Alaba - Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger - T. Müller, Kroos, Ribery - Mandzukic
Fortuna: Giefer - Balogun, Latka, Malezas, J. van den Bergh - Bodzek, Tesche - Lambertz, O. Fink, Bellinghausen - Kruse