Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac remains focused on securing a fifth straight win as he bids to close the gap in the Bundesliga title race.
Bayern have not won in their last three matches at the Allianz Arena – their last home game was four weeks ago, a 3-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach – but will be hoping their recent away form can help change their home record.
Speaking at a press conference, Kovac stressed the importance of a win, and praised Saturday’s visitors Freiburg, who have lost just once in their previous seven games.
He described the Black Forest side as: “A difficult team to face, who cover a lot of ground and have good players.”
Bayern will be without Thiago Alcantara after he tore a ligament in his right ankle in the DFB-Pokal tie against Rodinghausen and will be out for several weeks.
On Thiago, Kovac said: “It’s obviously frustrating that he’s injured. But he will come back stronger and help the team, as he has done so far.”
In place of the Spaniard, the manager is set to play James Rodriguez, but could also turn to Leon Goretzka or Renato Sanches.
Arjen Robben, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels return for the Bavarian side after missing the cup match because of a combination of illness, fitness and suspension.
With the return of these key players, Kovac almost has a full squad to choose from, with only three members of the club currently out injured.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich wants his team to fight and is targeting at least a point from their visit to Munich.
Streich has lost all five matches he has overseen at Bayern, but believes his team have a chance.
Speaking at a press conference, he said: “Everything is possible. Every game has its own story, and maybe we can win there in my lifetime.”
On such a distinguished side, he added: “You look forward to the game in Munich and the showdown with such a high-profile team.
“It’s always something special to face Bayern, and you need to have respect for them, but we also want to to take them on so we finally manage not to lose there.”