Bayern Munich have started the 2013/14 season pretty much as they finished the last win, winning six and drawing one of their eight games across all competitions.
But, given the lofty standards of the Bavarians, there are some actually calling their start underwhelming.
The defending Champions League winners start their European schedule with the visit of CSKA Moscow to the Allianz Arena.
CSK are undefeated in the Russian Premier League and top the table with 20 points after eight games. With stars in Alan Dzagoev and Keisuke Honda, the Russians will give the Bavarians a stiff test.
Let's break down this Group D clash.
When: Tuesday, September 17 at 2:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. BST)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Watch: FOX Sports Net; Fox Soccer 2Go; Sky Sports Red Button (UK)
Odds: Bayern Munich (79 percent), CSKA Moscow (5.2 percent), draw (15.7 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Despite just one loss in eight games thisw season, Bayern Munich's director of sport Matthias Sammer had some strong words after the Bavarians started slowly against Hannover before winning 2-0.
Here are his comments, via Sky Sports:
We are playing lethargically at times, playing football without any emotion and just going through the motions. When you are struggling in the first half, then you've got to help each other out in the tackles and bring a bit more emotion into play.
Instead, we are too relaxed and just watch—we've won five titles in the last 15 months, Franck Ribery's been named Best Player in Europe and he'll probably also win the Ballon d'Or. It's not that we are not working, just we're not showing any emotions at all.
It's not on that Pep [Guardiola] has to raise his voice all the time. Our coach always has to give a heated speech before we get going. It's all about Pep. Pep here, Pep there, Pep's great, Pep's poor—we're finding it all great because we're no longer in the limelight and this affects you subconsciously.
We're all hiding behind the coach.
Strong words from Sammer, perhaps in an effort to not only wake up the players before the start of the Champions League, but also to show solidarity behind new manager Guardiola, who is under scrutiny after shifting the squad to a 4-1-4-1 formation.
With Manchester City also in Group D, Bayern Munich know that home wins are vital if they are going to top the group. The Bavarians won't take this Russian side lightly.
Quite simply, you don't bet against Bayern Munich at home.
With the quality and depth of this squad—imagine being able to roll out Ribery, Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller, Mario Mandzukic, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger, to name a few, each and every game—not even a talented CSKA Moscow have the talent to steal a point at the Allianz Arena.
Expect a competitive match, but one that the Bavarians win without excess drama. Bayern Munich wins, 2-0.
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