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FCB can go second with win against Schalke

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FCB can go second with win against Schalke

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:40 pm

There are no guarantees in football, but it would be a real surprise if the 69,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena for the clash between Bayern and Schalke on Sunday afternoon (Live in English from 3.15 pm CET on Web Radio) ended up witnessing a goalless draw, as the clubs boast the best forward lines in the Bundesliga: the men from Gelsenkirchen have scored 50 so far, one more than the Bavarians.

"Schalke play very refined, very good attacking football," noted Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes ahead of the meeting between the Reds and the Royal Blues, singling out Schalke's "extremely good forward line" spearheaded by Netherlands hitman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the league's joint top scorer on 18 goals together with Bayern's Mario Gomez. "That'll dictate our approach to the match," Heynckes continued.

A week after a goalless stalemate away to Freiburg, and four days after the 1-0 Champions League defeat in Basel, Germany's biggest club are determined to pick themselves up and move on. Bayern currently lie third in the standings, a point ahead of Sunday's visitors, so a home victory would not only put distance between the men from Munich and a dangerous title contender, it would also send FCB back up to second place, as Borussia Mönchengladbach were held to a draw by Hamburg on Friday.

"We have to show a reaction on Sunday, that's obvious," said Heynckes, "but I think the team is well aware of the fact." The coach called for a strong collective effort: "We have to rediscover our unity as quickly as possible. We have to play like an outstanding team again."

Passion, bite and aggression

After issuing an unmistakeable rallying call in midweek, FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge once again appealed to the players' sense of pride and honour, given the disappointing results of recent days. "If we don't turn the corner very soon, we won't hit the targets we've set ourselves this season. I can only issue an urgent appeal to our players to give it everything they have, so that we do in fact achieve our goals."

"The team must demonstrate character in the matches coming up in the next few weeks," continued Rummenigge. "We have to see more passion, bite and aggression. The moment has arrived for every individual player to ask himself whether his commitment and passion are enough to ensure success."

Will Schalke be weary?

Just like Bayern, Schalke were involved in European action during the week, securing a berth in the Europa League Round of 16 thanks to a 3-1 success against Viktoria Plzen on Thursday evening. The Royal Blues were obliged to play extra time and have also had a day's less rest, but Heynckes does not feel his team will have the edge as a result. "It's obvious they're in good physical shape," he said.

Both clubs are missing a handful of key players for Sunday's top of the table clash. For the visitors, boss Huub Stevens is definitely without the suspended Jermaine Jones and injury victims Lars Unnerstall, Ralf Fährmann and Sergio Escudero, but Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Christian Fuchs and Chinedu Obasi reported fit on Saturday after picking up knocks in midweek. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Daniel van Buyten, Diego Contento and Breno are still sidelined for FCB.
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