115 days after beating Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the epic 2013 Wembley final, last season's quadruple winners have their sights set firmly on repeating last term's fifth triumph in the competition, and the German record champions look poised to begin well, having already secured the UEFA Supercup in the current campaign and got off to a promising domestic start with 13 points from their first 5 matches.
Despite their early 2013/14 successes, however, both the coach and players have made it clear they will be taking Tuesday's clash against Russian league and cup winners CSKA anything but lightly, the game marking the club's first Champions League outing under Pep Guardiola after the Catalan took over from Jupp Heynckes in the summer,
"It will be complicated, they're a physically strong side," Bayern's tactician said, highlighting that it might come to CSKA's advantage that they have had longer to get into their stride. "Russian teams can be extremely dangerous at this early stage of the season," the 42-year-old, a two-time Champions League winner himself with FC Barcelona, said. "Their league begins in mid-July and the clubs now have plenty of games under their belt already."
The FCB set, however, haven't failed to heed Guardiola's warning. That much was evident at the club's pre-match press conference, where midfielder pointed out that "last season, we laid the foundation [for our later success] in the group stages. We want to play well from the off and secure our first three points."
Bastian Schweinsteiger is likely to return to the Bayern starting line-up having recovered from an ankle problem, with injured midfielders Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara, Mario Götze as well as centre-back Holger Badstuber all unavailable against CSKA.
"We want to do it again"
Bayern's recent Champions League triumph, however, will be omnipresent at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night, with May's continental coronation still fresh among the players' memories. “We remember how good it was," said the Germany No1 , already setting his sights on Lisbon 2014: "And we want to do it again."
Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, J. Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Schweinsteiger - Robben, T. Müller, T. Kroos, Ribery - Mandzukic
CSKA: Akinfeev - Nababkin, V. Berezutskiy, Ignashevich, Shchennikov - Wernbloom, Cauna - Zuber, Honda, Vitinho - Musa