Bayern Munich focus on Cologne after beating Juventus

Photo credit: AFP

Photo credit: AFP

Pep Guardiola will be hoping Bayern Munich suffer no Champions League hangover when they return to Bundesliga action at Cologne on Saturday on the back of their stunning victory against Juventus.

Bayern came from two goals down to beat Italian champions Juve 4-2 after extra time in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday and advance to the quarter-finals 6-4 on aggregate.

The Bavarians, who are in the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition for the fifth campaign running, have won all seven of their league fixtures immediately after European matches this season, often running up big scores in the process.

“Juventus is history, now our focus is on Cologne,” said Guardiola as he oversaw Bayern training on Thursday.

With eight games left, second-placed Borussia Dortmund are just five points behind the leaders and Guardiola went for the old cliche of “every game is a final now” with Bayern looking to become the first team to win four successive German titles.

Center-backs Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng are all still sidelined for Bayern against a Cologne side on a high after beating Hanover 2-0 last weekend.

That was their first victory in five league games and their first clean sheet since November.

– Five from five –

But they have lost three of their four home games so far in 2016 and Bayern have won all of their last five games against Cologne, scoring 17 goals and conceding only two.

On Sunday, Augsburg host Dortmund knowing the last time they faced Thomas Tuchel’s side, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a hat-trick in a 5-1 drubbing in October.

The Gabon striker loves playing Augsburg having scored seven goals in six appearances against them.

Aubameyang has netted 22 times in the league this season but has gone three games without scoring, leaving him two goals behind the Bundesliga’s leading marksman, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski.

Dortmund are the only Bundesliga side not to lose a league game in 2016, picking up 23 of a possible 27 points.

Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is set to sit out the trip to Bavaria with a bruised foot, but striker Adrian Ramos could start as Tuchel rotates his squad after playing Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday in the Europa League.

There is an intriguing clash on Friday as fourth take on fifth in the race for a Champions League spot when Borussia Moenchengladbach are at Schalke.

Schalke are unbeaten in the last three home games and Gladbach have not won any of their last six away.

Schalke’s talented 20-year-old midfielder Leroy Sane is set to return to the starting line-up after being benched following below-par performances.

There is a fair chance Bayer Leverkusen’s away clash at Stuttgart will yield goals after their last meeting finished in a 4-3 win to Roger Schmidt’s men.

Both teams are in unpredictable form and Leverkusen’s defense is ravaged by injuries.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Bundesliga games on US TV and live streaming

There will be plenty of focus on Leverkusen’s Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, who has scored 14 times in his debut Bundesliga season but just once since January.

With eight games left, time is fast running out for teams near the foot of the table to clamber out of trouble.

Bottom side Hanover 96 are in pole position to go down and on Saturday they visit Eintracht Frankfurt, who are in the relegation play-off position.

“The pressure is building, we have to hold our nerve,” said Eintracht’s new coach Niko Kovac, whose side are now winless in their last eight games.

Hanover are clinging on to their top-flight status with seven points between them and 16th-placed Frankfurt and defeat would all but condemn them to the drop.

Frankfurt are level on 24 points with Hoffenheim, who are at Hamburg on Saturday and are beginning to find some form under Julian Nagelsmann, who at 28 is the Bundesliga’s youngest ever coach.

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