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Bayern target place in knockout round

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Bayern target place in knockout round

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:15 pm

30.10.2006

After back-to-back victories in the German Cup and the Bundesliga, Bayern aim to continue their winning streak in the Champions League when they take on Sporting Lisbon in their fourth Group B fixture on Tuesday evening (<b>Live in English from 8:30 pm on FCB Web Radio</b>). A victory would not only seal Munich's place in the first knockout round, it would almost certainly be enough to win the section.

"Simply qualifying for the last sixteen is no longer our target. We want to finish top of the group," Felix Magath declared following a tight but deserved 1-0 victory in the Portuguese capital two weeks ago. "We want to win the group, because of the home advantage in the knockout round," striker Roy Makaay confirmed.

<b>Closing in on best-ever start</b>

The Bavarians currently lie five points ahead of second-placed Lisbon in the standings and only need a draw to seal a berth in the last sixteen, but the Reds want more than that: no German team has ever opened a Champions League with four straight victories. The Reds currently have maximum points from three games with seven goals for and none conceded, and can easily surpass their best four-game record set nine years ago, when they garnered nine points with 10 goals for and two against. "Three points will be enough," Magath observed, "that would give us 12 points with two games remaining. That should give us the confidence we need to finish the group in first place."

"We intend to put on a show for the fans," declared defender Daniel van Buyten, who will again be partnered by impressive Lucio stand-in Martin Demichelis. Should Bayern defeat Sporting and Inter Milan fail to take all three points from their early evening trip to Spartak Moscow, the Germans would be through to the knockout round for the 10th time overall, and the seventh time as group winners.

<b>Magath expecting fireworks</b>

However, the Portuguese outfit will not give in without a fight, as defeat in Munich would seriously endanger their chances of making the last sixteen. "They'll be looking for a result as they're still battling for second place," Magath observed, predicting an open and attacking game - although that would absolutely be to the home side's taste.

The scenario is certainly destined for a different character compared to the rugged defensive battle in Lisbon, as the Reds defended their narrow lead with only ten men. "We rode our luck at their place," Mark van Bommel admitted, "they're difficult opponents."

<b>Fürstner in squad</b>

The sides were separated by Bastian Schweinsteiger's strike in Portugal, but the midfielder is suspended on Tuesday evening. Magath declined to reveal who would step up to replace the 22 year-old: "There are a couple of candidates. We probably won't decide until Tuesday evening."

The long injury list at the club sees first team call-ups for reserves Stefan Maierhofer and Christian Saba, with young talent Stephan Fürstner set to resume squad duty following a successful return from injury.

<b>Probable line ups:</b>

<b>Bayern Munich:</b> Kahn - Sagnol, Demichelis, van Buyten, Lahm - van Bommel, Ottl, Salihamidzic - Pizarro, Makaay, Santa Cruz
<b>Also in matchday squad:</b> Rensing, Karimi, Dos Santos, Lell, Görlitz, Saba, Maierhofer

<b>Sporting Lisbon:</b> Ricardo - Abel, Tonel, Anderson Polga, Tello - Paredes - Nani, Joao Moutinho, Carlos Martins - Alecsandro, Liedson

<b>Referee:</b> Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)
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