Despite the absence of Arjen Robben, the Bayern party was in upbeat spirits when they set off for Belarus on Monday morning for their second Champions League Group F fixture. Dutch ace Arjen is still troubled by a pulled muscle and has been withdrawn from the meeting with Belarus champions BATE Borisov in Minsk on Tuesday evening as a precaution.
The FCB group includes 19 players, the same squad as for Saturday's Bundesliga trip to Werder Bremen. Bayern are currently on a run of nine consecutive victories in all competitions, and will be confident of a good result on Tuesday, despite the loss of Robben. “We want a perfect start in the Champions League as well as the Bundesliga," said captain Philipp Lahm.
It is the Munich giants’ first-ever meeting with a club from Belarus, so the travelling party is breaking new ground. “And I'm curious too, because I've never been to Belarus or Minsk," said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge shortly before takeoff from Munich on Monday.
After the 2-1 victory over Spanish side Valencia in the first round of matches, Bayern can move to the top of the Group F standings provided they win in Borisov. “If so, we'd have six points, and it would be difficult for the others to knock us off the top," reasoned Lahm. However, BATE Borisov won their opening game away to OSC Lille by a surprisingly clear-cut 3-1 margin, and will themselves be confident after a 16-game unbeaten run in their domestic league.