The gap at the top of the league has vaporised and Daniel van Buyten is out for two months with injury, but Bayern are keeping their cool. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk even welcomed the four-way fight at the top of the Bundesliga: “It’s good. The greater the pressure, the more you concentrate,” the midfielder said on Tuesday. And Jerome Boateng believes FCB can cover for Van Buyten’s absence: “We have enough quality in defence.”

In Tuesday morning’s practice match, Boateng partnered Holger Badstuber at centre-half. The summer signing, who has mainly featured at right-back so far, reckons he will start Saturday’s meeting with Wolfsburg in central defence. “Yes, it’s what I think,” he said, although boss Jupp Heynckes has yet to state his opinion.

oateng joined Bayern last August with high hopes of reclaiming a regular berth at centre-back, a position he filled 12 times in the first half of the season. However, he was also fielded at right-back on 10 occasions, and was again on the right side of defence for last Friday’s Bundesliga restart match. “I’m always delighted when I get to play in the centre,” stated the 23-year-old, “every player has a favoured position, and mine’s centre back. But I have no problem at all playing at full-back.”

Tymoshchuk has also featured at centre-half for the men from Munich, and the Ukrainian said it would be “okay” if he was to help out again in the back for next Saturday. “I’ll do whatever I have to for the team,” the recognised defensive midfielder said, before adding with a grin: “Goalkeeper wouldn’t be very easy though.” However, Tymo continued, the club has numerous options at centre-back, with himself, Boateng, Luis Gustavo and Breno all familiar with the position.

Seeking to improve

However, the man selected as Van Buyten’s stand-in is much less of a decisive factor than Bayern’s performance as a team in their next match. “We need much more aggression,” Anatoliy urged, “we have to play as a team. Everyone attacks and everyone defends, just like the period when we weren’t conceding any goals.” FCB kept 12 clean sheets in a row between mid-August and mid-October last year.

“As we saw back then, we’re capable of playing better football than now,” Boateng agreed. The Germany international believes Bayern will turn in a much improved display against Wolfsburg. “We have to watch ourselves and turn the corner,” he warned, adding that another long run without conceding a goal was definitely within the realms of possibility. “But just talking about it doesn’t help. We have to deliver on the field,” he declared.

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