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Robben ready for Bayern’s death-or-glory battle

Fit-again midfielder targets win on Wolfsburg trip to book place in third round of German Cup

Gulf News

Berlin: Arjen Robben is relishing Bayern Munich’s “death or glory” German Cup trip to Wolfsburg on Tuesday where their hosts are still licking their wounds from last month’s Bundesliga mauling.

Wolfsburg were hammered 5-1 at the Allianz Arena when Robert Lewandowski scored five goals in just nine minutes.

On Saturday, Bayern sealed their 1,000th Bundesliga win with a 4-0 drubbing of Cologne for a 10th win in 10 league outings this season.

With a place in the third-round at stake in Wolfsburg, coach Pep Guardiola will be in no mood to rest his stars as Bayern target a repeat of their 2013 treble of Champions League, German Cup and Bundesliga titles.

“This is a death or glory match. A top game — on a par with the Champions League,” said Netherlands captain Robben, who scored against Cologne on his return from the groin injury which kept him out since August.

“You can’t allow yourself any breaks and you have to be ready. Our goal is really clear: we want to reach the next round.”

With second-placed Borussia Dortmund not hosting Augsburg in the Bundesliga until Sunday, Bayern took the chance to go 10 points clear in the league by beating Cologne.

No team has ever started a season as well as Bayern who have a perfect 10 wins, scoring 33 goals and conceding just four.

With 1,000 wins in 1,714 Bundesliga games since the competition began in 1963, Bayern are currently peerless in Germany and battered Cologne with 26 shots on goal to just four in reply.

“1,000 wins shows how big this club is,” said Guardiola.

“The game was difficult, we hardly had any room and it was almost impossible to play a pass in the middle,” said the Spaniard whose side enjoyed 74 per cent possession.

The Bavarian giants were back to their confident best after suffering their first defeat of the season after losing 2-0 at Arsenal in the Champions League last Tuesday. Robben, Arturo Vidal, Lewandowski — who now has 13 goals in just nine league games — and a Thomas Mueller penalty wrapped up the scoring.

Alongside Lewandowski, Mueller has scored 10 goals from ten league games this season and Guardiola was able to field three wingers against Cologne with Robben, Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa all showing off their deadly pace.

“I had already prepared a congratulatory letter for their 1,000th win, but I had hoped that we could send it out next week,” quipped Cologne coach Peter Stoeger.

Having warmed up for their Bayern clash with a 1-0 win at Darmstadt, Wolfsburg will be the underdogs on Tuesday despite home advantage after beating Guardiola’s German league champions on penalties in the pre-season Super Cup.

“This is a very special game. We are defending champions and playing at home,” said Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking.

“Of course, we’ll need a red-letter day to go through, but we want to win and reach the next round.”

Halting Bayern’s star-studded strike force will be Wolfsburg’s main concern as their Brazilian centre-backs Naldo and Dante were exposed for pace when the sides met in the September rout. “We want to annoy Bayern from the outset,” said midfielder Daniel Caligiuri, who scored their winner at Darmstadt.

“If we can keep it up, then we have our chance.”

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