Bayern Munich host Ingolstadt in the first Bundesliga derby between the clubs on Saturday full of respect for their Bavarian pals, but determined to come back stronger from their shock defeat at Moenchengladbach.
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern crashed to their first German league defeat of the season last Saturday when they were humbled 3-1 by third-placed Gladbach.
It was only Bayern’s second loss of the season, following a Champions League defeat at Arsenal, and Bayern are determined to protect their five point lead in the table.
“We have to play well and fight for everything, it won’t be an easy game,” said Robert Lewandowski, whose goals sealed a 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday with Bayern in the last 16 in Europe.
“We have to keep our concentration and score the first goal, that should lay the foundations for us to have some fun.”
Ingolstadt deserve Bayern’s respect with a symmetrical record of five wins, five draws and five defeats in their first season in Germany’s top-flight and are 11th in the table with 20 points.
Coach Ralph Hasenhuettl has kept most of the side which won last season’s second-division title and they have drawn with top side Wolfsburg, Schalke and Moenchengladbach so far.
“They deserve to be where they are in the league and I hope they stay up,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm, who played alongside Hasenhuettl in the Bavarian youth football.
“They don’t just play defensively and don’t just stand at the back.”
Between them Poland’s Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller have scored a whopping mo27 league goals so far this season, but the Germany forward expects a tussle.
“We have a task on Saturday which will clearly be a difficult thing,” said Mueller.
Bayern are set to be without centre-back Medhi Benatia, who suffered a suspected torn left thigh in Zagreb.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who lag five points behind Bayern, want to keep the pressure on Munich with a win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.
Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 17 of Dortmund’s 42 goals in 15 games this season, while German striker Marco Reus has weighed in with eight more.
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