Bayern Munich duo Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng have warned that the German champions will be up against it when they welcome Bundesliga minnows SC Paderborn to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening.
Bayern - who have enjoyed a lukewarm start to the new season having only secured eight points from a possible 12 - will aim to accumulate maximum points against a high-flying SC Paderborn side who have taken like a duck to water in their first season in the German top-flight.
Like Bayern, Andre Breitenreiter’s team currently have eight points from four games, but have the dangerous advantage of leading the Bundesliga table on goal difference.
This comes after the North Rhine-Westphalia outfit - who before the start of the season were mocked and labelled as prime relegation candidates - secured two victories away against Hamburg and at home to Hannover to set up this David v Goliath clash at the top of the Bundesliga table.
This will be the first time that the two sides - who until recently applied their trades in very different worlds - will meet, with the Bundesliga new-boys playing for a slice of history and league acceptance, whilst Bayern attempt to avoid an embarrassing backlash from the German media.
Although the Bavarian giants are indisputable favourites to inflict SC Paderborn’s first defeat of the 2014/15 campaign, Boateng has warned his Bayern teammates that the Blue and Whites are full of energy and motivation going into Tuesday’s game at the Allianz Arena.
The 26-year-old told Bild: “They have fun when they play in the Bundesliga. You can see it. We must be extremely careful on Tuesday. It is not going to be an easy game.”
Despite Moritz Stroppelkamp’s 83 metre wonder-goal at the weekend which left the Paderborn players dancing around the pitch as if they had just won the title itself, Breitenreiter’s side will know that they will have to find a way past Neuer if they are to leave the Allianz Arena with something other than raised heads.
Although Neuer has only conceded two goals so far this season for Bayern, the 28-year-old shot-stopper has voiced the same concerns as his teammate by admitting that the German champions are entertaining an aggressive and highly-talented Paderborn side.
He said: “We know that they are a serious opponent. You would have momentum in a team that has and continues to rise. We cannot underestimate them. We now know that this could be dangerous for us.”
One man who will definitely be feeling the pressure of the occasion is Bayern manager Pep Guardiola, who, despite guiding the Bavarian outfit to a Champions League group stage victory against Manchester City last week, has come under fresh scrutiny from the German media.
The Spaniard was criticised for failing to beat bottom of the table Hamburg on Saturday and will no doubt call upon his stars for Tuesday’s fixture against Paderborn after leaving several big name players on the bench against HSV.
Guardiola predicts aggression
Although Guardiola is likely to field an experienced side against the Bundesliga minnows, the 43-year-old has admitted that Paderborn are worthy opposition to his Bayern machine and are fully capable of causing an upset and putting a spanner in the works.
He said: “It is of no surprise, or luck that they are right at the top. They have the talent and quality to do good things. Paderborn will also play aggressively against us. They are under no pressure and have nothing to lose.”