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FCB 'optimistic' prior to Hamburg clash

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FCB 'optimistic' prior to Hamburg clash

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:10 pm

Bayern versus Hamburg is one of the Bundesliga's true marquee fixtures. The big-name sides meet for the 95th time on Saturday (Live in English from 6-30 pm CET on Web Radio), with the game taking place at the Imtech Arena in the northern port city. In the German top flight's 50-year history, only the Hamburg versus Bremen fixture has occurred more often with 97 matches. FCB's record against HSV is a good one, with 54 wins, 21 draws and a mere 19 defeats, but Munich's recent form in the north has been less impressive, with the last victory away to Hamburg coming six years ago. The intention is to change that now.

"I'd like to win there this once," stated Thomas Müller, who was still in the under-19 youths when the senior side defeated Hamburg 2-1 back in November 2006. Jupp Heynckes described himself as "very optimistic", as his men have now moved on from last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Leverkusen and are "in good shape. We want to cement our position at the top." Arjen Robben agreed: "We want to set off on a new run."

However, Heynckes said he was expecting "a tough away game. HSV are resurgent." The side lying seventh in the table have lost only one of their last six league fixtures, conceded just a single goal in their last four Bundesliga games, and beat champions Borussia Dortmund 3-2. "Hamburg are back on a high. We know what's coming at us," declared Xherdan Shaqiri, who made the breakthrough under current HSV boss Thorsten Fink when he was in charge of FC Basel.

Fink aiming for victory

Heynckes echoed that warning. "They'll be totally motivated. They won't just try and match us, they'll try to win. They'll give it 100 percent, or 120 if that were possible." Fink, an Intercontinental Cup and Champions League winner with Bayern, confirmed that intent: "We've filled up on confidence over recent weeks and shown we're capable of beating good teams. We have nothing to fear from Bayern Munich. I want to beat them."

The FCB coach singled out midfield string-puller Rafael van der Vaart and "outstanding" goalkeeper René Adler for special praise. Spearheaded by the two stars, HSV are more determined than ever to improve on last season's disappointing 15th place finish. "We want everyone to know the victory over Dortmund was no one-off," said van der Vaart, who in his own words said he was "as hot as chip fat" prior to the clash with the leaders: "We have to go on the attack and not be afraid of the best team in Germany."

Rafinha and Ribéry in squad

"With the crowd behind us, and with iron discipline," Fink believes his men can pull off a surprise result on Saturday. However, the home side are without Ivo Ilicevic (sprain), Petr Jiracek (groin) and Christian Nørgaard (knee). For Bayern, Mario Gomez (sports rehab training) and Holger Badstuber (ruptured muscle) definitely miss out.

Rafinha was forced out of the action in the cup against Kaiserslautern on Wednesday with an injured shoulder, but is available to play after undergoing a precautionary MRI scan on Friday morning. "There was nothing unusual. It's just a knock. He'll be in the squad," said Heynckes. Franck Ribéry, sidelined during the week with a sprain, also returns to match duty.
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