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3:30 AM GMT Jan 31, 2015
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Bayern Munich

Pep Guardiola navigating Bayern Munich's biggest obstacle: themselves

Matthias Sammer, Bayern Munich sporting director, and influential midfielder Xabi Alonso discuss the resumption of the Bundesliga season after the winter break.

Bayern Munich have long operated under the mantra of "We can only beat ourselves." That unshakable self-belief, demonstrated again recently by Thomas Muller's (slightly too honest) quip about matches in training being harder to win than some Bundesliga fixtures, is one of the reasons why the Bavarians are loved and loathed in equal measure throughout Germany. What sounds like rank arrogance to those predominantly living north of the Danube River and supreme confidence to those in the southern half...

Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga action in first place

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop breaks down this week's top rankings.

The German season is set to resume, which means defending Bundesliga champions and Power Rankings leaders Bayern Munich will return to competitive action.  

1. Bayern Munich (no change)

By now you know the drill: Bayern haven't played but stay top by virtue of no other side having done enough to usurp them. But, wait, the Bundesliga resumes this weekend and, furthermore, the runaway leaders face a tough test away at Wolfsburg. Are Pep Guardiola's side in for a surprise?

2. Real Madrid (no change)


 By Mark Lovell

Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg to restart Bundesliga in sombre fashion

Bayern Munich are looking to accelerate into a 14 point lead at the top of the table when they resume their Bundesliga campaign against Wolfsburg on Friday.
The funeral of Belgium under-21 international and Wolfsburg midfielder Junior Malanda, who died in a car crash last week at the age of 20, took place in Brussels on Tuesday.
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben believes his team are ready to continue their quest for a third straight Bundesliga title.
Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels believes a lack of confidence is behind his club's Bundesliga downfall.

An end to that elongated six-week hibernation known as the Bundesliga winter break looms Friday, with runaway league leaders Bayern Munich facing second-placed VfL Wolfsburg.

The same two sides met in August in the opening joust of the Bundesliga's 52nd season on a balmy late summer's evening in Munich. Amid much pomp and circumstance, Bayern broke out the bunting to welcome home their freshly crowned World Cup-winning heroes.

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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
7:30 PM GMT
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During a glitzy ceremony, complete with national anthem and much-deserved...

Bayern Munich stay top as Barcelona make their move

ESPN FC's Tommy Smyth delves into Shaka Hislop's power rankings where Manchester City fell off the map, while Lyon, Benfica and Southampton all made moves forward.
Barcelona's talisman Lionel Messi scored a decisive goal against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey match.
Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique insists that his side fully deserved their 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

The top four remain the same in Shaka Hislop's latest countdown but Barcelona's improved recent form sees them return to the upper echelon.

1. Bayern Munich (no change)

Mercifully, the Bundesliga season restarts in just over a week so this space will soon be filled, once again, by comments about actual games. In the meantime, why not catch up on Pep Guardiola declaring love for one of his players, Arjen Robben claiming he was bitten by a crocodile and a busy week for Pepe Reina

2. Real Madrid...

 By Mark Lovell

Best of the British at Bayern Munich: Owen Hargreaves

Owen Hargreaves' career was cut short through injury but he is still fondly remembered by Bayern Munich.

With the Bundesliga's winter hibernation finally drawing to a close, our Bayern Munich "Best of British" trilogy also concludes this week with a look at England's Owen Hargreaves.

Yes, it's England's and not Canada's Owen Hargreaves. It's still a moot point for many Canadians as "Hargo" was born and bred in Calgary to an English father and a Welsh mother.

He was desperate to carve out a career in Europe and impressed Bayern as a raw Calgary high school kid on trial in 1997. He was talented enough...

 By Chris Wright

Pep Guardiola shouts 'Badstuber, I love you!' during Bayern Munich training

An amazing snippet of footage has emerged from one of Bayern Munich's recent open training sessions in Doha that captures the absorbing manner in which coach Pep Guardiola motivates his players to improve their passing game.

During a lightning-paced game of "piggy in the middle," Pep can be heard making known his pleasure at the sight of his players manoeuvring the ball with such skill, even yelping "[Holger] Badstuber, I love you!" at one point.

The man's enthusiasm is infectious!

Indeed, it's...