The defending champions equalled FC Barcelona's nine-match winning run at Europe’s top table on Matchday 4, downing FC Viktoria Plzen, and now have those lofty double figures in their crosshairs - not to mention top spot in Group D.
'We want to win the group'
“We want at least a point and ideally a win,” explained Bayern president Uli Hoeneß as the squad left chilly Munich for the sub-zero climes of the Russian capital on Tuesday morning. “It would put us in an outstanding position ahead of the final match against Manchester [City] because we want to win the group at all costs.”
Pep Guardiola’s men rubberstamped their safe passage to the knockout rounds with their fourth win in as many group games last time out, but are fully aware the job is not done just yet. “If we win [in Moscow] we’re as good as guaranteed to finish top of the group,” affirmed Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “The benefits of that are that we would play away from home in the first leg of last 16 and also avoid the big guns.”
'Moskva are dangerous'
That said, tackling purported giants head-on is arguably what the all-conquering Bavarians do best. Since last March’s quarter-final hiccup at home to Arsenal FC, they have been unstoppable, deposing Guardiola’s old flame Barcelona, edging out domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in the final and adding further conquests to the scrapheap in the form of group rivals Plzen, CSKA and Manchester City this term.
Naturally, Bayern’s head honcho wants that fine run to continue. “Even though we’ve already qualified, we’re still going to go about our game with a great deal of professionalism,” insisted the Catalan. “Moscow are dangerous at this time of year. We’re going to have to play really, really well if we want to win tomorrow. We have to deal with the conditions. It’s a matter of focus.”
Battling the elements
Guardiola’s call for mental fortitude comes after his side’s evening training session was called off owing to heavy snowfall, mirroring their last problem-laden trip to the Khimki Arena in 2006 when, following a similar set of pre-match obstacles, a Claudio Pizarro brace ensured Bayern walked away with a draw. The Peruvian, along with the likes of Franck Ribery (rib), Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle), Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) and Mario Mandzukic (ankle) will play no part on Wednesday, however.
Those in attendance on this occasion at least managed an hour’s worth of indoor keepie uppies, before making an unexpected return to the team hotel, where they may well be tempted to indulge in a spot of bedtime reading: The Russian champions have garnered just three points from four matches in Europe so far this season, conceding a competition-high 12 goals in the process - a trio of which can be attributed to FC Bayern, who opened their Group D account with a 3-0 victory at home to the Russian Premier League champions on Matchday 1.
CSKA: Akinfeev - Mario Fernandes, A. Berezutskiy, Ignashevich, Shchennikov - Wernbloom, R. Elm - Tosic, Honda, G. Milanov - Doumbia
FC Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, van Buyten, Dante, Alaba - Lahm - T. Müller, Javi Martinez, Thiago, Robben - M. Götze