Bayern Munich return to their Champions League title defence in a situation unusual for them, having taken one point from their last two Bundesliga matches, including a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
There appears to be a hangover from the Club World Cup, and several coronavirus cases, but there is confidence Bayern will bounce back against Lazio in Tuesday’s last-16 first leg, though they will be facing a very different Ciro Immobile to the one which was once on the books at Borussia Dortmund.
In order get the latest on the German giants we talked to Eurosport Germany's Marc Hlusiak.
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How much of a shock was the Frankfurt loss?
Shock is not the right word, as Frankfurt is the team of the hour in the Bundesliga and Bayern will not always come out on top. It was to be expected that there could be a loss of points.
Nevertheless, it is of course always unusual for Bayern to lose, but they are still leaders and are confident enough to recover from such a weak phase. They have shown that many times in the past.
Has the Club World Cup impacted their form?
I think it's clear to see that the Club World Cup has had an impact on the last two performances (2-1 defeat at Frankfurt and a 3-3 draw with Arminia Bielefeld). Bayern are still the best team in the league this season, but not the fittest.
In addition, they’ve had to struggle with coronavirus again and again, which can be the result of travelling a lot. Thomas Müller and Benjamin Pavard have suffered, as have Javi Martinez, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry.
Time and time again, important players have had to drop out for a long period due to the need to quarantine.
What's the biggest difference between pre and post-Club World Cup?
At the beginning of the season, Bayern were keeping a very high line and left a lot of space behind their defensive line. They did so last year, but if you play that risky, you have to be at a top fitness level to avoid counter attacks.
Bayern wasn't at this level for the beginning of the season - therefore Hansi Flick made some corrections and pulled back the defensive line a little bit. They had success with that.
Before losing to Frankfurt and the tie against Bielefeld, they had been strong at the back for a little while.
Bayern are now only two points ahead of Leipzig - are they feeling the pressure?
Bayern is aware of its strengths. They'll feel the pressure, but they'll also know they can handle it. Flick is not receiving any criticism for the way they are currently playing.
Bayern boss Hansi Flick
Image credit: Getty Images
Is this a good time for Lazio to play Bayern?
Yes, you could see it that way. But you could also say that now is a bad time to face Bayern. Two defeats in a row? A rare one.
What will Bayern be most fearful of when they face Lazio?
I think Bayern have respect for Lazio's attack.
Bayern's weakness this season is their defence and Lazio's best player is striker Ciro Immobile, they will have to take him out of the game.
Lazio's Ciro Immobile has been in brilliant form this season
Image credit: Getty Images
How different is this Immobile to the one we saw at Dortmund?
Immobile never really felt at home in Dortmund.
In Italy, he appears full of self-confidence and looks like he’s enjoying playing. He is a completely different player to when he was under Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund.
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