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In the virtual press conference ahead of Friday night’s Bundesliga home game against FC Bayern Munich (20:20 CET), head coach Marco Rose discussed…
… team news: Valentino Lazaro will not be available for Friday. Further tests revealed an injury, and we have to look at how long he will be out for. It is a big shame for both him and us, because he is a very valuable member of the squad. Alassane Plea is an option to start again after picking up minutes in Bielefeld, but Ramy Bensebaini isn’t ready for a full 90 minutes yet. We have to decide on the best way to use him, but without a doubt he helps us a lot with his dynamic style and aerial strength.
… the upcoming opposition: Bayern are top of the table and in good form, even if they’ve conceded a few goals recently. In our analysis, we’ve looked at where they leave space that we can exploit. It’s well-known that they defend high, which also helps their dominance in possession. Doing so allows them to win the ball back quickly and allow their opponents little space. However, it allows the opposition space in other areas and gives them the possibility to get in behind. We have to make us of that against them.
… Robert Lewandowski: In Robert Lewandowski, Bayern have a world-class striker who doesn’t need many chances to score goals. He will find space and use it. You need to have a good day to be able to defend against a player like him effectively. We have good centre-backs and defensive midfielders who will have to be up to the task.
… the recent 2-1 home victory over Bayern: In that game, Bayern were very dominant in the first half and we didn’t deliver the performance we were expecting. After that, we played a really good game in the second half. The focus in the upcoming game will also be to keep the game open for as long as possible while searching for our chances. If possible, we want to get something from the game; that would be important for us.
… the return of Jonas Hofmann: We have a lot of very good players but of course you have players who are really important for us in certain aspects. Hoffi has improved a lot in this regard over the past few months. You could see in the Bielefeld game how important he is to us. He assisted the goal, covered a lot of distance and created space. He brings a certain enjoyment onto the pitch, makes decisive actions and works hard tracking back. He is in good form and is an important factor in the way we play.
… Denis Zakaria’s development: He’s doing well. When we spoke a month and a half ago, we’d never have imaged that he’d have played so many games by his point. After a long time out through injury, he’s done really well. I think is important to give Denis the opportunity to take the next steps on the pitch. We are aware of his quality and we want to help him get back to that level.
… games against top teams: Games at the top always help. We were able to pick up experience in the Champions League, and we have to make use of that now. In games like this, you have to find the right attitude, be confident and bold. We need to find the right mentality and play with conviction if we want to get something from the game. On our day we can hurt Bayern and take three points.
… Alexander Zickler’s history with Bayern: Of course, Alex knows the club and knows what it means to be a Bayern Munich player. He knows the expectations that FCB have and what kind of person they require you to be. He’s not been there recently enough to have any kind of ‘insider knowledge’, but it is always good to have someone like that in the ranks. He can definitely teach the boys a thing or two about how to compete with a team like that.