BERLIN: Bayern Munich can claim their 1000th Bundesliga victory if they beat Cologne at home on Saturday as the German league leaders look to bounce back from their Arsenal disappointment.
Pep Guardiola’s Bavarians suffered their first defeat in 13 games this season when they lost 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Despite the loss, Bayern are top of Group F in Europe and host Cologne at the Allianz Arena having won all nine Bundesliga games so far this season — a new league record they are eager to extend to a perfect 10.
Last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Werder Bremen was Bayern’s 999th victory since the Bundesliga started back in 1963 and the Bavarians want to claim another German league first to make up for their blip in London.
“That’s the Champions League. And in the Champions League you have to be perfect. We weren’t,” said Guardiola after their Arsenal defeat.
But Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had a different spin. “Actually nothing dramatic has happened. We’re still top of the table,” he said. “It is important that the players show the right reaction immediately and continue their winning streak. I recommend that you just keep it up against Cologne, it could be a record that stands for all time.”
Guardiola hopes to have wingers Douglas Costa, Kingsley Coman and Arjen Robben available to face Cologne.
Costa played against Arsenal, Coman was on the bench after a thigh strain and Robben is set to return from a groin strain having trained with the reserves at the start of the week.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen are home to Stuttgart on Saturday with the visitors having only escaped the bottom three last weekend.
Roger Schmidt’s Leverkusen are eager to learn the lesson from their 4-4 draw with Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Bayer took an early 2-0 lead when Leverkusen’s Mexico striker Javier Hernandez scored twice, only for the hosts to ship four goals before scoring twice in the final ten minutes to rescue a point.
“We need to look at what we did well in this game so that we can do the same [in Stuttgart], but we also need to improve,” said Hernandez. “We can’t afford to throw a lead like that away again and concede so many goals. Sometimes, though, football is like that and that’s why I love it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.
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