15 August 2014 18:05
Bayern Munich begin the defence of their DFB-Pokal title with a trip to 3. Liga side Preussen Munster on Sunday.
Goals from Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller handed Bayern a 2-0 extra-time victory over Borussia Dortmund in last season’s final, earning the Bavarian giants their second successive cup crown.
The 2014-15 campaign did not get off to the best of starts for Bayern as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup on Wednesday, but they will be expected to cruise past inferior first-round opponents this weekend.
Preussen have won just one of their four games in the third tier so far this season, but will be relishing the opportunity to pit their wits against the Bundesliga champions in an eagerly-awaited tie for the hosts.
It would be no surprise to see Guardiola make full use of his squad for Sunday’s fixture, which comes just five days before the Bavarian giants commence their league campaign against Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena.
One of the players who could come in is Robben, who was named as one of three nominees – alongside team-mate Manuel Neuer and Cristiano Ronaldo – for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award earlier this week.
The winger made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup with the Netherlands, meaning he was late in rejoining his clubmates for pre-season training.
However, the 30-year-old says he is eager to get back on the pitch, and is confident of progressing past Preussen Munster.
“My desire to play football is certainly back again,” he said. “I’m ready for the restart.
“Obviously the three weeks [holiday] went by in a flash and I’m sure a couple more days would have done us all good. But it just wasn’t possible because we have the DFB-Pokal first round on Sunday .
“They’ll [Preussen Munster] definitely fight hard with everything they’ve got.
“We won’t be handed anything on a plate but if we play to our footballing strengths we’ll make the next round. I’m very confident.”
Bayern’s preparations have been dealt a blow after Javi Martinez tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Supercup, ruling himself out for “several months”.