Munich - With Arsenal FC and the UEFA Champions League on the backburner, FC Bayern München return to the "pizza and hamburgers" of the Bundesliga this Sunday when they travel to Hannover 96 (kick-off 16:30 GMT/17:30 CET).
Bundesliga: the hardest of them all
A high-cholesterol euphemism was used by Bayern coach Pep Guardiola to explain how important being focused for what could be their 47th Bundesliga game without defeat is going to be.
"The Champions League is like eating exquisite food in a nice restaurant," said the Catalan. "The Bundesliga is like pizza and hamburgers every day." Since both are equally mouth-watering, Guardiola struggled to explain his personal penchant. "The most prestigious title is the Champions League, but the most important and hardest title to win is the German Bundesliga," he added.
He hopes to be able to wrap up the latter "within five or six matches," thus breaking the record set last season for the earliest ever Bundesliga title victory. That would not seem beyond a side who have now gone 46 consecutive games without losing, winning their last 13 in a row. As if that is not already enough, Guardiola warned: "We can keep improving, despite our high quality. It's normal that we're getting to know each other better all the time."
Robben: 'No easy game'
Guardiola is also getting to know the Bundesliga better, even if his side's results seem to render him oblivious to its traditional unpredictable allure. Arjen Robben can fill him in there, having experienced the highs and the lows which mean he is not getting carried away by the current anomaly of Bayern's historic dominance. "There's no such thing as an easy game, not even in the Bundesliga," said the Dutchman. "We have to play our best because you get no gifts from anybody."
That will certainly be the case in Hannover, where new coach Tayfun Korkut has added steel to the side that flattered to deceive prior to the winter break. "We're preparing the pizza and the burgers, only we get to choose what ingredients to use," the tactician said in response to Guardiola's remark. "We want to make it a very spicy pizza with a bit of mayonnaise on the burger to make it hard for Bayern to digest."
Up against the best on the planet
While acknowledging that Bayern are "possibly the best side in the world," Korkut nevertheless believes in his side's chances of getting back to winning ways after back-to-back defeats. "We can trouble Bayern if we perform to the best of our abilities," he said. "We can hurt them, but of course it won't be at all easy."
Mame Diouf is available to lead the Hannover attack, but Didier Ya Konan is not yet fit for action. Franck Ribery remains sidelined for Bayern, along with Holger Badstuber and Xherdan Shaqiri, but the UEFA Best Player in Europe is getting better "by the day," according to Guardiola, who hopes to be able to have him back soon.
Hannover: Zieler - Rajtoral, Marcelo, Schulz, Pocognoli - Schmiedebach, Stindl - Huszti, Bittencourt - Rudnevs, Diouf
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Lahm, Thiago - Robben, Kroos, Götze - Mandzukic