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Champions fire up for Aachen encounter

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Champions fire up for Aachen encounter

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:11 pm

19.09.2006

The rain poured down in Munich on Tuesday, but Bayern's first training session after a 36-hour break still drew 200 fans to the Säbener Strasse, keen to observe the double winners' reaction to a first defeat of the season in Bielefeld at the weekend. "Go for it!" one of the die-hards shouted. "On Saturday – and against Inter on Wednesday too," a second voice added.

Head coach Felix Magath had no need of the well-intentioned words of advice, well aware his side face three make-or-break games before the next pause for internationals. The champions will launch an assault on the top of the table in league fixtures against Aachen and Wolfsburg, with a prestige European clash away to Milan giants Internazionale sandwiched in between.

<b>Must-win fixture</b>

Magath took his men to one side for a 15-minute team talk. "We discussed our situation," he later revealed. "We've agreed to make sure Bielefeld was a one-off slip. We must beat Alemannia Aachen on Saturday to make up for it."

The boss will pick from close to a full squad. The only confirmed absentees are Owen Hargreaves (fractured fibula), Stephan Fürstner (torn muscle), Sebastian Deisler, Andreas Görlitz (both rehab after knee surgery) and Valérien Ismael (broken leg), but Michael Rensing returns to duty after overcoming a pelvic injury.

<b>Hard at work</b>

It was too soon to finalise the name of Hargreaves' stand-in, the coach reported, as he intended to watch the contenders closely in training before making up his mind. The stars certainly threw themselves into the day's routines and practice match with gusto, and Magath will have been suitably impressed with the voluntary overtime put in by a clutch of his troops.

Claudio Pizarro, Lukas Podolski, Ali Karimi and Christian Lell had all reported to fitness coach Werner Leuthard in the morning for a vigorous workout, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Hasan Salihamidzic stayed behind in the afternoon for some shooting practice, with Rensing between the sticks.

<b>Oktoberfest as motivational tool</b>

After the players had set off for home, Magath told reporters he could think of two good reasons why his men were a good bet for a performance on Saturday. First, because they had a week without internationals or the Champions League in which to prepare. "It's especially beneficial for the internationals to spend eight days in a row here in Munich," he commented. And the second reason? "The Oktoberfest has started. It always makes us better."
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