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Bayern set out to defend top spot

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Bayern set out to defend top spot

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:02 am

17.08.2007

Miroslav Klose makes an early return to his former stamping ground on Saturday when Bayern visit the Weser stadium in Bremen (<b>Live in English from 3.15 pm CET on FCB.tv Web Radio</b>), the first stern test of Munich’s title credentials and a fixture laden with even more significance than normal this season.

“It’ll be a tense occasion, not just for Miroslav Klose but for all of us,“ Bayern boss Ottmar Hitzfeld commented before setting off for the north. The General is keen for his men to carry on where they left off in last week’s 3-0 opening day victory over Rostock. “We’d like to maintain our good start, so our target is a win in Bremen.“

<b>Draw would suffice</b>

The Reds are well aware that the task is considerably more challenging than the opener against the promoted club. “The bar will be set higher in Bremen. They’re much higher calibre opponents than Hansa, and we’ve not come away with much from Bremen in recent years. So I’d say winning would be perfect, but not losing wouldn’t be bad either,“ chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told <b>fcbayern.de</b>.

Hitzfeld took a similar view. “Rostock was a must-win match. That’s not the case this time, but we’ll do what we can.“ The 58-year-old made it clear his side were in no mood to provide welcome relief for a Bremen side struggling with poor form and injury. “We’re not going there to help Bremen recover. We’re going to Bremen in search of three important points towards winning the league title.”

<b>Average away record</b>

Bayern beat Werder 4-1 in the League Cup four weeks ago, but the pre-season meeting will have little bearing on this weekend’s north-south clash. Despite Werder’s chronic injury situation, “it would be fatal to believe they won’t be better than they were in the League Cup,“ Oliver Kahn warned.

“I think they’ll be totally up for it. They’ll dig deep and disregard their missing stars.“ The task instead was to improve on a very poor record on the road, Kahn mused: “We didn’t exactly cover ourselves in glory away from home last season. As a team, we need to regain the character we routinely used to show away from home against the league’s top teams. It’ll be a very good test of where we stand.”

<b>Danger for Bremen</b>

Hitzfeld was giving few clues as to his potential line-up. “It’ll all be decided on Saturday,” the General answered when asked whether he would partner Klose with Luca Toni, or revert to the League Cup pairing of Klose and Franck Ribéry. Marcell Jansen is sidelined with a ligament strain, so Philipp Lahm is set to switch to left-back with Hamit Altintop or Christian Lell on the opposite side.

“In the League Cup, we found out how not to do it against Bayern,” Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf observed, confident his side’s first home fixture would be less traumatic than the events of four weeks ago. Added defender Per Mertesacker: “We know a few things about Bayern. They’ll create a lot of danger, which it’s up to us to neutralise.“

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

<b>Werder Bremen:</b> Wiese - Pasanen, Mertesacker, Naldo, Schulz - Andreasen, Baumann - Diego, Carlos Alberto - Sanogo, Rosenberg

<b>Bayern Munich:</b> Kahn - Altintop, Lucio, Demichelis, Lahm - Schweinsteiger, Van Bommel, Zé Roberto, Ribéry - Toni, Klose
<b>Also in matchday squad:</b> Rensing, Lell, Van Buyten, Ottl, Sosa, Wagner

<b>Referee:</b> Dr. Markus Merk (Otterbach)

<b>Bayern’s record in the fixture:</b> P41 W9 D13 L19 F43 A62
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