Douglas Costa is keen to build up his fitness and form when Bayern Munich take on Darmstadt on Saturday, ahead of a Champions League test against Juventus.
The Brazil international has netted just two goals in 16 league outings this campaign and he has admitted he can still improve in front of goal.
Bayern won 3-0 at Darmstadt earlier in the season, but only snuck past Dirk Schuster’s men 1-0 when they met in the DFB-Pokal.
While keen to improve his tally in front of goal against Darmstadt, Costa will be taking nothing for granted against a side that have won three of their last four away games.
“We’re not thinking of Juve yet. We’ll take it step by step: first Darmstadt, then Juventus,” Douglas Costa said at a media conference.
“The most important thing right now is that we sit atop of the table. We will continue to improve.
“On a personal level, I want to score more goals. I still have room for improvement. I needed a bit of time to get back to my best after my injury. My position isn’t fixed, I don’t care where I play, the main thing is that I play.
“The purpose of football is to bring people joy.”
Bayern will be brimming with confidence heading into Saturday’s encounter following their most recent results against Darmstadt. They are unbeaten in their last eight competitive fixtures against SVD (winning the last five).
Additionally, the Bavarians have won their last 23 Bundesliga matches against promoted sides, netting a whopping 77 goals in total. Their last defeat against a newcomer came in late August 2010, when they were beaten 2-0 in Kaiserslautern.
Darmstadt, meanwhile, also have reason for optimism following their decent start to the second half of the season, bagging six points from their last four games as they beat Hoffenheim and Hannover in away games.
They sit 13th in the Bundesliga table with 24 points from 21 games, four points clear of the drop zone.
However, they have only once managed to take a point against Bayern in the German top flight, recording a 1-1 draw at the Olympiastadion in November 1978.
Key Opta facts:
– Robert Lewandowski has netted 21 goals this term – just one fewer than Darmstadt collectively (22).
– Munich-born Sandro Wagner is Darmstadt’s top scorer (7). He played for Bayern between 1996 and 2007.
– Bayern’s home record this season is the best at this point of a campaign in Bundesliga history (30 points, GD: +31).
– Dirk Schuster’s side have the third-best away record (17 points, same as Bayer Leverusen) and have collected 71 per cent of their points on the road, a league high.
– Darmstadt have scored 13 goals from set pieces this season, another league high.