Four months have passed since the Allianz Arena hosted the 2011/12 final, but the Bayern players are resolutely looking forward instead of backwards. "As bitterly as that ended, this is a new beginning," said Philipp Lahm during Tuesday's pre-match press conference. "Everything starts all over again and everyone's ready for it. We've reached the final twice in the past three years. Why not again?"
Wembley not on Heynckes' mind
However, unlike his captain, head coach Jupp Heynckes preferred not to look so far ahead. "I don't like statements like that. London, Wembley - it's all too far away for me." Nevertheless, the 67-year-old tactician was more than ready to "take on a new challenge. First we've got to successfully negotiate the group stages though." To do that Bayern will be hoping to carry their league form - three wins out of three - over into Europe's elite club competition and Heynckes, who spent several years coaching in Spain, is calling for another dominating performance from his side.
One man who could be involved is the Bundesliga's new record signing Javi Martinez. "I think that he's ready to play," said Heynckes, who has so far handed the Spanish defensive midfielder two cameo appearances off the bench against Stuttgart and Mainz. "He is pushing himself further in training and most importantly has earned the acceptance of the other players. He's only 24, but already a big personality."
"Robbery" ready to return
There was more good news for the record titleholders as the coach announced that Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben had "both trained well" and that he hoped they'd "both be available" on Wednesday having missed out against Mainz. "Even our star players will have to become accustomed to sitting it out at times in the coming weeks," explained Heynckes, alluding to the run of six games die Münchner are about to contend with over the next 18 days. "It's the same at any other major club."
Definitely starting against Valencia is striker Mario Mandzukic, who's ready to finally make his debut in the Champions League proper, having previously played in twelve qualifying matches with Dinamo Zagreb without making the group phase. "I always give my all - and then the reward comes automatically," said the Croatian international, who could soon have a fit-again Mario Gomez hot on his heels vying for the central striking role.
The increased level of competition has Heynckes praising the "atmosphere within the squad", which has so far reaped impressive rewards on the domestic front. The same is expected of them now on Europe's biggest stage.
FC Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Badstuber - Martinez, Schweinsteiger - T. Müller, Kroos, Ribery - Mandzukic
Valencia: Diego Alves - Joao Pereira, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Cissokho - Parejo, Tino Costa - Feghouli, Jonas, Guardado - Soldado
Tim Tonner reporting from Säbener Straße