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Bayern ready for assault on top spot

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Bayern ready for assault on top spot

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:20 pm


All good things come in threes, a saying Bayern are hoping will hold good when they travel to face Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga on Saturday (<b>Live in English from 3.15 pm on Web Radio</b>). Following a battling 2-1 victory over St Pauli in the German Cup first round and a spanking 4-0 success against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League last Tuesday, the double winners are looking for a third win in a week which could see them move to the top of the Bundesliga standings for the first time this season.

"We won't be satisfied with a draw in Bielefeld. We're going there to win," Bayern coach Felix Magath declared ahead of final training in Munich on Friday. Victory at the notorious Alm stadium would complete another series of three good things, as the men from Munich triumphed in their two most recent visits, one apiece in the league and the Cup.

<b>Game of the season</b>

Arminia are struggling in 16th place, but the season is still only three games old, and the Reds in any case know they will have their work cut out. The home side are under immense pressure to get a result after taking just one league point so far, and suffering an ignominious Cup exit to third division Pfullendorf last weekend. In the circumstances, the East Westphalia outfit could wish for no better opponents than the champions. "It won't be easy for us up there. It's the biggest game of the season in Bielefeld," Bastian Schweinsteiger acknowledged. "We've had nothing but problems there in the last few years."

The home team share that sentiment. New signing Christian Eigler felt the fixture was "a huge opportunity, and I hope we take it." Coach Thomas von Heesen argued that the nascent standings failed accurately to reflect his team's performances to date: "It's not like we've played badly, quite the opposite. We've settled well, but the results haven't reflected our efforts."

<b>Leaf out of St Pauli's book</b>

Von Heesen, Magath's former team-mate from their playing days together in Hamburg, reckoned Bayern's Cup opponents St Pauli had uncovered the secret of success against the Bavarians. "St Pauli showed the way you have to play Bayern, with plenty of aggression. Here at home, we have to be assertive, keep coming at them, never stop attacking, and never let them settle."

Magath is fully prepared for hostile tactics from the strugglers. "Bielefeld will battle and run till they drop, but whatever they say, I'm expecting us to have to make the play. They'll be trying to hit us on the break."

<b>Question-mark over Hargreaves</b>

Magath refused to confirm whether he would continue with the line-up he deployed against Spartak, effectively a 4-3-3 formation. "It's lost the element of surprise," he deadpanned when asked if he would again field a three-man forward line. "We have four equally outstanding strikers. Leaving one or two of them out of the side isn't easy."

Reserve keeper Michael Rensing is out of the match with a bruised pelvis, while a question-mark hangs over in-form Owen Hargreaves, who is struggling to shake off a hamstring problem. Andreas Ottl or Martin Demichelis could deputise for the England international.

<b>Probable line-ups:</b>

<b>Bayern Munich:</b> Kahn - Sagnol, Lucio, Van Buyten, Lahm – Van Bommel, Hargreaves, Santa Cruz, Schweinsteiger - Pizarro, Podolski
<b>Also in matchday squad:</b> Dreher, Demichelis, Scholl, Karimi, Makaay, Ottl, Salihamidzic, Dos Santos

<b>Arminia Bielefeld:</b> Hain - Korzynietz, Westermann, Borges, Schuler - Kamper, Kauf, Ndjeng, Böhme - Wichniarek, Masmanidis

<b>Referee:</b> Florian Meyer (Burgdorf)

<b>Bayern's record in the fixture:</b> P14 W9 D2 L3 F27 A17
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