First versus thirteenth. Bayern Munich will be looking to win the DFB-Pokal semi-final dress rehearsal against a Werder Bremen outfit in fine form, as of recent, in front of an expectant home crowd, at the Allianz Arena, in Saturday's late kick-off at 17:30 GMT.
Bayern in need of a win
The league leaders may remain five points clear at the top, but they will be very keen on defeating their opponents, who are firmly in the crosshairs.
It comes as a shock to even the most lenient of Bayern fans to see that their team has dropped five points in the last two Bundesliga games.
Mainz ended Bayern's perfect home record in the league this season with a snatch-and-grab win and, in doing so, inflicted the first defeat on the champions for three months (3-1 loss to Gladbach at Borussia-Park).
Following that, a stern test at the Westfalenstadion was next on the cards, where Borussia Dortmund held the Bavarians, or vice-versa depending on your preference, to a goalless draw. Despite no team finding the back of the net, it was an entertaining game of Germany's two biggest sides, and promised good things for the future.
Interestingly, the last matchday was the first time Bayern failed to win two back-to-back games.
Werder vying for revenge
It goes without saying this fixture hasn't exactly been too kind to Werder Bremen over the last few seasons. Bayern have inflicted numerous heavy defeats, including a 0-7 demolition job at the Weserstadion in the record-breaking season of 2013/14.
The last win for die Werderaner dates back almost eight long years in a 2-5 hammering at the Allianz Arena, before winning the DFB-Pokal at the end of the season.
They may not boast the same resources as their superiors, but nevertheless die Grün-Weißen have been in great form, as of late. Back-to-back 4-1 wins away to Bayer Levekusen and home to Hannover ended the six month run without a win at the Weserstadion and have catapulted the proud outfit away from the relegation zone.
The reverse fixture saw Bayern triumph 0-1 at the Weserstadion to continue their 100% win streak, in mid-October.
Each side has their say
Pep Guardiola spoke earlier during his press conference, "We will think of Juventus later, but at the moment my head is only focusing on Werder Bremen." Later the Bayern manager proceeded to evade certain questions on İlkay Gündoğan, "My concentration is purely on Bayern today" and the opposition's intentional booking scandal, "It's a question for Bremen's manager. They have a lot of good players."
David Alaba, Juan Bernat and Joshua Kimmich participated in light training, but all are expected to be fit for tomorrow. Jérôme Boateng remains injured, but the German international is making good progress in his recovery.
Werder Bremen midfielder Sambou Yatabaré remains skeptical over his side's recent u-turn in form: "The wins haven’t changed our situation much. We still need a lot more points on the board."
However, Santiago García seems a tad more upbeat: "Obviously Bayern are a tough opponent – but we aren’t scared, and we’ll give everything." The full-back commented on how ready his teammates have to be, "We have to be strong in defence, our keeper has to have a good day and perhaps we’ll be able to nick it with just one counter attack, like what happened when they played Mainz [1-2 loss]."
In a huge loss, top-scorer Claudio Pizarro will miss the match against his former side due to a pulled muscle and in-form Fin Bartels is suffering from a cold and is also out. The DFB ruled that Zlatko Junuzović and Clemens Fritz will each have to pay a €20,000 fine for intentionally picking up bookings in the win over Hannover and no additional suspensions have been dished out, but the duo are still ineligible for the clash.