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With his team on a 12-game winning run, FC Bayern München coach Louis van Gaal unsurprisingly struck a positive note ahead of the UEFA Champions League first knockout round first leg visit of ACF Fiorentina. Their opponents, by contrast, have endured a dip in form and lost two players to injury over the weekend. Yet coach Cesare Prandelli hopes the match could be a turning point for his team.
Louis van Gaal, Bayern coach
My team is at peak fitness. We had a very good training camp in Dubai. Fiorentina are a good team, I saw them against Roma. Their only problem is that they are not scoring goals at the moment. But these things can change in one game – we showed that against Juventus. As I say, Fiorentina are strong opponents. They did a great job during the group stage. I'd be satisfied with a 1-0 win.
Mutu won't play, but Fiorentina are not just Adrian Mutu; as Bayern are not just Ribéry and Robben. Fiorentina are strong as a team. But we will play our own game, trying to dictate things. This is not the group stage with six games. Now we have just two games – every single detail, every single mistake could be decisive. My team knows Fiorentina. We studied a lot of videos, but we are talking about the Champions League last 16: every team have their special qualities, every team is strong at this level.
Cesare Prandelli, Fiorentina coach
We have good memories of Munich although we lost [3-0] to Bayern the last time we were here. We are proud to be here again and will play with real determination. It's not the right time to focus on our poor recent results in Serie A. I've received a lot of positive signals from the players, and, who knows, perhaps the game against Bayern will be the turning point?
We will try to take advantage of our experience against Bayern, but it's more important to play with will and enthusiasm, caution and lots of discipline. If we can get a good result, we will have a chance at home. I want my team to be angry about our recent results. For our supporters this game is very important and I hope we will not disappoint them. Of course, key players are missing but we have a lot of potential as a team.
13/02/2010 Bayern 3-1 BV Borussia Dortmund
(Van Bommel 21, Robben 50, Gómez 65; Zidan 5)
• Bayern's 12 straight competitive win kept them level on points with Bundesliga leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen and they are now just one goal behind.
• In six games since the winter break, Bayern have scored 20 goals with only six in reply.
13/02/2010 UC Sampdoria 2-0 Fiorentina
(Semioli 16, Pazzini 40)
• Fiorentina are 11th in Serie A, with only one point in five matches.
• Their cause at Sampdoria were not helped by the loss of defender Alessandro Gamberini and winger Mario Santana within the first 16 minutes to injuries which rule them out of the trip to Bayern.
Doubtful: Miroslav Klose (ankle)
Misses next match if booked: Danijel Pranjić, Bastian Schweinsteiger
• On Tuesday, 35-year-old goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt signed a new 12-month deal running until summer 2011.
Out: Cristiano Zanetti (knee), Alessandro Gamberini (shoulder), Mario Santana (calf)
Suspended: Adrian Mutu
Misses next match if booked: Marco Donadel, Alberto Gilardino
• Gamberini is set to be out until early May after undergoing surgery on Tuesday.
• Bayern prevailed 3-0 when the clubs met for the first time last season on 21 October 2008 in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Klose (4), Schweinsteiger (25) and Zé Roberto (90) got the goals for the home side. The teams then drew 1-1 in Florence on 5 November.
• Fiorentina advanced to the last 16 in style, topping Group E with 15 points. Together with FC Girondins de Bordeaux, they are the competition's in-form team having won their last five matches. They are seeking a first quarter-final appearance in UEFA's premier club competition since 1969/70.
• Fiorentina have never won in Germany where their record reads one draw and three defeats. The only time they avoided defeat was when they drew 1-1 at Werder Bremen in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup semi-finals. A goalless draw in the return took them through to the final, where they lost to Serie A rivals Juventus.
• Former Germany midfielder Stefan Effenberg played for both Bayern – with whom he won the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League – and Fiorentina. Effenberg joined the Viola in 1992 from Bayern, but later returned to the Bavarian giants in 1998. More recently, Luca Toni spent two free-scoring seasons with Fiorentina from 2005 to 2007 before moving on to Bayern.
Did you know?
• Bayern's defeat of Fiorentina last term was only their second success in their last eight home meetings with Italian opponents.
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