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FCB aim to get even and extend lead

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FCB aim to get even and extend lead

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:04 pm

06.10.2007

Ottmar Hitzfeld is unlikely to have forgotten the second of February this year, when his much-heralded return to the Bayern bench as head coach ended in a dismal 3-0 away defeat to 1. FC Nürnberg. “I knew it would be a tough job, but I’m a little surprised at just how tough it’s going to be,” Hitzfeld confessed after watching his new charges slump to a damaging defeat against their in-form Bavarian rivals.

A whirlwind of change has blown through the Munich club since then. Of the starting eleven back in February, only Lucio, Martin Demichelis and Mark van Bommel are likely to feature when the sides resume hostilities at the Allianz Arena on Sunday (<b>Live in English from 4.45 pm CET on FCB.tv Web Radio</b>), although the 69,000 full house and the current team will certainly feel a measure of revenge is in the Munich air.

<b>Hitzfeld with score to settle</b>

“We only took a point off Nürnberg last season: it was 0-0 in Munich and a clear-cut 3-0 defeat on their turf. We need to even things up,” commented chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the eve of the 49th all-Bavaria state duel. “We have a score to settle,” Hitzfeld agreed. The Bayern coach will certainly be reminding his players of last term’s debacle before they run out to do battle this weekend.

In the ninth league fixture of the campaign, Bayern are looking for a lot more than simply the restoration of local bragging rights. “We want to put distance between ourselves and the likes of Schalke and Bremen, who I regard as our closest rivals for the title. That means beating Nürnberg,” Rummenigge intoned. “We’d be stupid if we threw away the cushion we’ve created. We’re taking the Bundesliga immensely seriously and intend to lead from the front,” declared general manager Uli Hoeneß.

<b>Cup winners in drop zone</b>

As a result of Saturday’s games, which saw surprise package Karlsruhe leapfrog previous second-placed outfit Schalke courtesy of a shock 2-0 win in Gelsenkirchen, Bayern will remain top of the standings even if they lose to their neighbours from Nuremberg, and would extend their lead to five points with a win. The visitors, nicknamed simply “Club” in German football circles, have endured dramatically contrasting fortunes this term after a cracking 2006-7 capped by a triumphant DFB Cup campaign.

FCN have not won in six matches and currently languish in 16th place with just six points from eight games. “Nürnberg have their backs to the wall and are unlikely to roll over and hand us the points in Munich. We’ll need to be correspondingly determined on Sunday,” Rummenigge warned, “we have no reason to take them lightly.“ The side bossed by coaching legend Hans Meyer arrive on a high after securing a berth in the UEFA Cup group phase on Thursday with a commendable away draw in Belgrade.

<b>Start for Poldi?</b>

Meyer played down expectations of his team. “Taking a point off Bayern would rate as a big surprise,” he insisted. “However, we’ll try and make it as difficult as possible for them with the means at our disposal.” FCN could be without Peer Kluge (foot), one of their form players in recent weeks, although former Bayern youth “Zwetschge“ Misimovic is a confirmed starter.

Hitzfeld may choose not to tinker with the line-up which started against Belenenses in Lisbon last Thursday, although Lukas Podolski could yet start alongside Luca Toni. The Germany international missed the UEFA Cup fixture with the flu. “He’s an option again,” Hitzfeld revealed to <b>fcbayern.de</b> after final training on Saturday.

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

<b>Bayern Munich:</b> Rensing - Lell, Lucio, Demichelis, Jansen - Altintop, Van Bommel, Zé Roberto, Ribéry - Toni, Podolski
<b>Also in matchday squad:</b> Dreher, Schweinsteiger, Schlaudraff, Ottl, Van Buyten, Kroos

<b>1. FC Nürnberg:</b> Blazek - Spiranovic, Wolf, Galasek, Reinhardt - Kluge, Mnari - Mintal, Misimovic - Saenko, Charisteas

<b>Referee:</b> Rafati (Hannover)

<b>Bayern’s record in the fixture:</b> P24 W17 D4 L3 F48 A18
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