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Bayern eye Freiburg ahead of Chelsea showdown
European champions Bayern Munich travel to Freiburg on Tuesday, determined to pick up their fourth straight Bundesliga win before heading to Prague to face Chelsea for the European Super Cup.
Bayern were dealt a blow on Sunday with the news star-signing Thiago Alcantara is expected to miss the next seven weeks after tearing ligaments in his right ankle and is due to undergo surgery on Monday.
The 22-year-old, who cost Bayern 25 million euros from Barcelona last month, was the only negative news from Saturday's 2-0 league win over Nuremberg when Pep Guardiola's side set a new Bundesliga record with 81 percent ball possession.
A Franck Ribery header in the 69th-minute broke the deadlock before Dutch winger Arjen Robben cut in from the right to add the second as Bayern claimed a club record 28th game without defeat.
Now Champions League winners Bayern head to Prague's Eden Arena to face Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, the Europa League holders, on Friday and Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the Bavarians need another win at Freiburg to keep confidence high.
"We want the best possible start with 12 points from four matches, so we can go to Prague for the Super Cup with no weight on our shoulders," said Rummenigge.
Thiago's injury will force a rethink to Guiardiola's midfield line-up, with Thomas Mueller or Toni Kroos likely to partner Mario Goetze in the middle, flanked by Ribery and Robben.
Freiburg, who have qualified for this season's Europa League, picked up their only point of the season so far when they drew 3-3 at Hoffenheim on Saturday in a frantic match which saw two players sent off, while the visitors' coach Christian Streich was also banished to the stands.
Having battered the Nuremberg goal with 26 shots on target and 10 corners, Bayern travel to Freiburg eager to keep the winning habit.
"The important thing for us right now is to take the points and keep clean sheets," said defensive midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was not the only Bayern player to admit the team are still coming to grips with Guardiola's new 4-1-4-1 system.
"We certainly could have scored a goal or two much earlier against Nuremberg.
"And sometimes we need a little more patience, especially against opponents who are defending well. We know we can play better, but it'll come."
Freiburg will do well to contain Bayern, who won 2-0 at the Solar Stadium last season, while no Freiburg fans will need reminding of the Bavarians' 7-0 romp in Munich in 2011, when Ribery scored twice.
If Streich was hoping for any insider tips from Nuremberg then he won't have been relieved by coach Michael Wiesinger's assessment: "In footballing terms, Bayern are quite simply a machine."
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