Thomas Muller has stressed that Bayern Munich must focus on the future and forget about Champions League disappointments of the past.
The Bundesliga giants have made it to the final of European club football’s elite competition twice in the past three seasons, but left the pitch empty handed at both occasions as Inter proved to be too strong in 2010, before Chelsea poured even more salt in Bayern’s wounds in 2012.
Muller is no longer thinking about previous results, though, and is determined to go far in Europe this term.
“We have to forget about the lost Champions League finals against Inter and Chelsea. We live for the future,” the Germany international told Uefa.com.
“Everything that happened in the past can’t be changed and it doesn’t make any sense to think about what happened last season.
“There’s still a great objective in my head, but you can see how important and explosive the matches become, starting from the last 16, then the quarter-finals and so on.
“It’s just great fun to play at such a top European level.”
Bayern have collected six points from three games so far and sit joint first in Group F.
Hamburg are expected to make a couple of changes from the side that beat Augsburg 2-0 last week for the visit of Bayern.
Tomas Rincon could come in for Tolgay Arslan in midfield as Thorsten Fink looks to keep out Bayern’s attack, while Ivo Ilicevic is fit after a hamstring injury to replace Maxilimilian Beister at left-wing.
However, Lam Zhi Gin is lacking match fitness, Slobodan Rajkovic is suspended and Petr Jiracek has a thigh problem forcing him to miss the clash.
Having rested a number of players for the 4-0 DFB-Pokal win over Kaiserslautern, Bayern wil be able to name a more recognisable team for the trip to the Imtech Arena. Manuel Neuer did not feature on Wednesday and will come back into the team in place of Tom Starke.
At the back, Holger Badstuber has an injury, so David Alaba will replace him at left-back, with Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng and Dante completing the back four.
In midfield, Javi Martinez and Luiz Gustavo have been rotated this season, but with the Spaniard having played in midweek, the Brazilian can expect to start.
Franck Ribery is still an injury doubt, but Arjen Robben can fill in, having marked his first start since a lengthy injury with two goals against Lautern. Finally, Mario Mandzukic will reclaim his place up front, ahead of Claudio Pizarro as Mario Gomez continues his recovery from ankle surgery.
- Jacopo Sala’s only Bundesliga goal to date helped the Imtech Arena outfit hold Bayern to a 1-1 draw in this fixture last season.
- Hamburg boss Thorsten Fink (pictured, right) represented the Bavarians between 1997 and 2006, and won four Bundesliga titles with die Roten.
- Bayern Munich have not lost to Hamburg in the league since matchday seven of the 2009-10 season, and have recorded 5-0 and 6-0 victories over Saturday’s opponents since then.
- The Bavarians have conceded four Bundesliga goals this season, but none of these have come on the road.
- Bayern attacker Xherdan Shaqiri was coached by Fink at Basel between 2009 and 2011, but the trainer left for the Imtech Arena shortly after the start of last season.
Bayern Munich’s Matthias Sammer has insisted that the German outfit’s board of directors work collectively and that there is no one man running the show.
The comments come in light of recent criticism from former trainer Louis Van Gaal, who suggested that the Bavarians are managed prinicipally by president Uli Hoeness.
“We don’t have a one man show at Bayern. My experience in the last 120 days tells me that Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Karl Hopfner and Uli Hoeness all reach decisions together,” Sammer said after the DFB-Pokal victory over Kaiserslautern.
“If I were in his [Van Gaal’s] position, I wouldn’t have named who is allegedly solely responsible here just to attack this exact person,” he continued.
“It did not work that way. Hoeness was not the only one who made the decision regarding Van Gaal’s sacking. I wouldn’t have said that to the media if I were in his place.”
Van Gaal enjoyed a highly successful first year as head coach of the Bavarian giants, winning the Bundesliga and guiding them to the 2010 Champions League final, before being sacked in 2011.
Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben has admitted that he has not fully recovered from his muscle injury that kept him out for six weeks, despite featuring in his side’s last two games.
The Netherlands international captained Jupp Heynckes’ side in their 4-0 DFB-Pokal win over Kaiserslauten, scoring twice as well as creating Claudio Pizarro’s opener in an impressive performance.
The 28-year-old admitted that he enjoyed leading the team at the Allianz Arena, but also explained that he is not yet properly match-fit after his lay-off.
“I didn’t do much different to usual, but of course it was nice to be captain. That made me proud. However, we all achieved this win together and it wasn’t easy,” he told Bundesliga.com.
“A 4-0 might look comprehensive, but we played with a team which hardly had any match practice and wasn’t used to playing together.
“Such a performance doesn’t just happen, so I’m very proud of the lads because they did a really good job.
“I was a bit surprised myself because I felt good, but I’m not 100 per cent yet. There’s still a bit of room for improvement, but that’s normal after not playing for many weeks. It all comes back by playing games.”
Bayern saw their unbeaten start to the season ended by Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday, and Robben admitted that Die Roten must stay focussed if they are to regain the league title from Borussia Dortmund.
“Before the Kaiserslautern game, we did talk about it a lot, but that’s normal. You’ve just got to keep your cool, but that doesn’t mean sit back and relax.
“We’ve got to stay alert because we can’t afford to drop any more points now.”
Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart says he enjoys facing Saturday’s opponents Bayern Munich more so than any other club in world football.
The Netherlands international has taken on the biggest clubs in Europe throughout his career, but admits that no opponent fires him up quite as much as the Bundesliga leaders.
“I must admit that Bayern are my absolute favourite opponent, even more so than Barcelona,” Van der Vaart was quoted as saying by Bild.
“There is no other team in the world which I enjoy locking horns with so much. I am raring to go.
“If we beat Bayern, everybody at Hamburg will feel that everything’s possible this season. And I don’t see why a win would not be possible.”
Saturday’s match at the Imtech Arena kicks off at 18:30CET.