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FCB vow to maintain fine run in Stuttgart

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FCB vow to maintain fine run in Stuttgart

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:30 pm

The clash between the two biggest clubs in the south of Germany has always generated a high emotional temperature and plenty of dramatic tension. Last season, the fixture also produced a glut of goals. Bayern and VfB Stuttgart met three times in all, and the huge crowds were treated to no fewer than 20 goals. Even better, Bayern won all three matches, 5-3 away and 2-1 at home in the Bundesliga, and 6-3 in the DFB Cup. The long-standing rivals meet for the 89th time this Sunday (Live in English from 5.30 pm CET on Web Radio). "These are always special games, both for Stuttgart and for us at Bayern," acknowledged FCB boss Jupp Heynckes.

Sunday's match is Munich's third-to-last of the calendar year, with only the visit of FC Köln and the cup trip to Bochum still to come before Christmas. "And we want to win all three matches," Heynckes declared. In that event, the Bavarians would be guaranteed first place in the league at the midpoint of the season, and would be still be battling for silverware on three fronts.

However, Heynckes senses his side face a stiff challenge on Sunday. "VfB are at home in front of a full house. They'll throw themselves into it and they'll be extremely focused," the boss warned, although the side lying seventh in the standings have hit a rough patch of late, with only one win in their last six matches. On top of that, Bayern have not exactly been Stuttgart's favourite opponents in recent years, as the men from Swabia have won only one of the last nine meetings.

Heynckes said he was entirely uninterested in archive material. "It's a tough away match," the 66-year-old insisted, "we need the same fighting mentality that we had against Bremen." FCB triumphed 4-1 last weekend, bouncing back successfully from league defeats to Dortmund and Mainz.

Late selection decisions

The 2-0 Champions League reverse away to Manchester City in midweek is already all but forgotten at Bayern, although the trip itself exacted a toll. "The journey was more tiring than the game," said Heynckes, who made seven changes to his team for Wednesday's match and rested a clutch of stars, albeit not entirely voluntarily.

Arjen Robben and Toni Kroos stayed at home in Munich with flu, while Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller and Daniel Van Buyten remained on the bench with similar symptoms. A decision on which if any of the five could feature on Sunday will be left until shortly before kick-off, "and I'm obviously hoping they can all play a part," the head coach said. The only players definitely absent are Bastian Schweinsteiger and Breno.

Labbadia's defensive conundrum

As for the home side, both Khalid Boulahrouz (hip) and Stefano Celozzi (strain) have been ruled out, and VfB lack any other options at right-back, so Franck Ribéry may well find himself up against Arthur Boka, normally at home on the opposite flank. It will otherwise be a full strength side fielded by boss Bruno Labbadia, who hit the goal trail for Bayern from 1991 to 1994. "We want to play well, enjoy ourselves, and show plenty of commitment," the VfB supremo said.

That, warned Heynckes, will definitely be the case on Sunday. "It's Stuttgart's biggest game of the year, and Bruno is skilled at motivating his teams." For all that, if FCB can reproduce their home form on away turf, they stand a very good chance of coming away with the points. "We have to show them right from the start that we intend to win," Heynckes concluded, "we're primed and we're ready. I'm very confident."
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