Bundesliga bottom club Cologne intend to “be bold” when they face Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, according to head coach Stefan Ruthenbeck.
Cologne are yet to win a Bundesliga fixture as they head towards the winter break with just three points from 15 matches so far.
Munich, meanwhile, will head into 2018 seemingly on course for yet another domestic title, already eight points clear of the chasing pack.
Ruthenbeck stepped up from the under-19s to take over first team duties following the departure of Peter Stoger earlier this month.
Cologne had looked set for a first Bundesliga victory when two late penalties saw them surrender a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 at home against fellow relegation battlers Freiburg on Sunday.
Despite the magnitude of the task in front of them, Ruthenbeck intends to meet the might of Bayern head on.
“We can’t stand in front of a big beast like a little mouse. We want to be bold and attack, despite our situation,” Ruthenbeck said, as quoted by the Bayern Munich club website.
Ruthenbeck believes his squad can produce the required response from the bitter disappointment of not being able to hold out against Freiburg, with Nils Petersen netting what was his second spot kick in the sixth minute of added time.
“They were despondent, but the situation is not one that came out of the Freiburg match. We understand our current situation and know how difficult it is,” Ruthenbeck said on Cologne’s official website.
“Mentally, I do not think much has changed with the players. We try to remind them that they can still get right back into it with a good run.
“The players know it will be a battle, but they are prepared to show that they want to be there.
“We will not show fear. We have many young players that are prepared to go out there with this mentality, regardless of how the match will end.”
Despite Cologne’s predicament at the other end of the Bundesliga table, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes expects a focused display from his men.
“Last season they qualified for the Europa League, now they are trailing behind the rest of the competition,” Heynckes said at a press conference.
“Psychologically, that is an incredibly difficult situation to cope with.
“You should not write them off yet, but it is obviously going to be unbelievably difficult to close the gap at the bottom.
“Of course we don’t want them to start doing that tomorrow – we have different plans.”
With number one Manuel Neuer sidelined and stand-in Sven Ulreich on his way back from injury, 36-year-old academy coach Tom Starke will again be in goal for Bayern.
“When called upon, he (Starke) is always 100 per cent there and focused,” Heynckes said.