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Hitzfeld urges stars to 'restore reputation'

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Hitzfeld urges stars to 'restore reputation'

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:20 pm


Disappointment is still the main emotion at Bayern these days, but a week after a bitter 2-0 defeat in Stuttgart, the reigning Bundesliga champions will set about putting the world to rights in the penultimate home fixture of the season against Hamburg SV on Saturday (<b>Live in English from 3:15 pm on Web Radio</b>). Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has urged his men to rise to the occasion. "It'll be another full house, and our loyal fans continue to expect plenty from us," the head coach pointed out, "so it's all about restoring our reputation."

On the eve of the 84th clash between the northern and southern giants, Oliver Kahn appealed to his team mates' honour. "We must protect our image and represent Bayern Munich in a fitting manner," the club captain advised, "we still have a small chance of finishing third. As long as it's still theoretically possible, we mustn't make the mistake of giving up too soon. Tomorrow is our last chance to get involved and keep alive our last flicker of hope."

<b>Hitzfeld's fighting words</b>

Bayern lie five points off third place, but Hitzfeld is similarly refusing to give up entirely on qualifying for the Champions League. "I'm not declaring the battle lost. I continue to believe we could still have a chance," the coach commented., predicting possible trouble for VfB Stuttgart away to bottom club Monchengladbach on Saturday. "It's Gladbach's last chance," he reasoned.

"We have to be ready to capitalise if Stuttgart stumble," Hitzfeld continued. The General has been pushing his men to the limit this week "to help us get the deep disappointment out of our heads. We've concentrated on the fundamentals. That's the best way to shut out everything else."

<b>Team display essential</b>

The coach has focused on defence in training. "We've placed a great deal of emphasis on better organisation," he reported. Organisation, discipline and unity are the watchwords as Bayern seek a return to winning ways. "We have to play like a team. That wasn't the case in Stuttgart. I saw a team which didn't really believe in itself," Hitzfeld summarised.

"Our body language will be a factor on Saturday, and I'll be watching closely for that," the General continued. Progress had been made in the build-up to Saturday's match: "The team's attitude this week has pleased me."

<b>Growing injury crisis</b>

The biggest area of concern at the club is the growing number of injured players. Valerien Ismaël and Lukas Podolski (both requiring surgery) have joined Willy Sagnol, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mehmet Scholl on the long-term absentee list. For the weekend fixture, Mark van Bommel (foot) and Owen Hargreaves (knee) are doubtful after failing to complete Friday's final training session.

The midfield pair could be replaced by Andreas Ottl and Ali Karimi, the Iranian earmarked for the left flank. Claudio Pizarro is likely to partner Roy Makaay up front, with Martin Demichelis potentially taking over from Daniel van Buyten in the back four. Kahn has shaken off a neck problem and will play.

<b>Beware Hamburg, coach warns</b>

Despite the selection problems, Bayern intend to take all three points off Hamburg. "We're at home, and victory would help us repay our fans," Hitzfeld reasoned, although he warned his men to beware a visiting team "who aren't where they should be in the table." Hamburg lie just three points above the relegation zone.

Nevertheless, the northerners are the Bundesliga's fourth-best team since Christmas with just two defeats in 2007, and no goals conceded in their last four away fixtures. "We have to get at them early. We mustn't let them start playing," Hitzfeld advised.

<b>100 percent effort</b>

The men from Munich are determined to put on a show for their fans. "We've always been good at home in the past," Kahn recalled, promising better displays for the supporters in the last four matches of the season. "We'll do everything we can, give 100 percent effort in every match, and win back our fans' faith," Hitzfeld echoed.

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

<b>Bayern Munich:</b> Kahn - Lell, Van Buyten, Lucio, Lahm - Salihamidzic, Van Bommel, Hargreaves, Karimi - Makaay, Pizarro
<b>Also in matchday squad:</b> Rensing, Demichelis, Ottl, Görlitz, Santa Cruz, Hummels

<b>Hamburg SV:</b> Rost - Benjamin, Abel, Mathijsen, Atouba - Mahdavikia, Jarolim, de Jong, Sorin - van der Vaart - Olic

<b>Referee:</b> Mr Kinhöfer (Herne)

<b>Bayern's record in the fixture:</b> P41 W31 D6 L4 F107 A37
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