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Leaders expect 'no stroll' in Hoffenheim

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Leaders expect 'no stroll' in Hoffenheim

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:30 pm

"Lads, put it in the net," cried Jupp Heynckes, "concentrate!" It was clear from the final training session prior to Sunday afternoon's Bundesliga visit to second-from bottom TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Live in English from 3.15 pm on Web Radio) that the boss is determined to avoid even the slightest hint of complacency. "We mustn't start thinking it'll be a stroll - quite the opposite in fact. It'll be tricky from the start due to the atmosphere. Whether we take something positive from the whole thing is up to us," said the 67-year-old, who joined the rest of the travelling party for the journey to Sinsheim late on Saturday afternoon.

Approaching the 24th round of matches, Bayern are aiming for a 20th win of the season, thereby restoring their 17-point lead at the top of the standings - the advantage was down to 14 points overnight after Dortmund's 3-1 win over Hannover. "My players know we're still a long way short of hitting our major target, the German championship," Heynckes told on Saturday. However, the head coach is convinced his players possess mental strength in abundance: "They won't let up, and they'll continue to play this brand of attractive, successful football."

Hoffenheim have won only one of their last 13 matches and are without suspended regulars Andreas Beck and Eugen Polanski on Sunday, but the FCB stars are in no mood to underestimate their struggling opponents. "They're wounded, so we'll have to be very watchful and wary," warned Heynckes, "we need to be up for it, show composure and make it clear from the start we intend to win." Former Hoffenheim midfielder Luiz Gustavo chimed in: "They'll put up a fight and give everything they have. We'll have to concentrate very hard. But we're ready for them."

Philipp Lahm is also expecting eleven motivated and determined Hoffenheim players. "But they're probably aware it's very hard to take points off us at the moment," the captain pointed out. "Over recent weeks and months, we've always been able to adapt immediately" - either in the wake of big Champions League fixtures or, as on this occasion, a DFB Cup thriller.

Four Bayern stars sidelined

In the light of the packed programme recently, Heynckes announced on Saturday his intention "to make changes in one or two positions. But it won't be just for the sake of it. There has to be a good reason." Four men are definitely out: Holger Badstuber (sports rehab after cruciate ligament damage), Claudio Pizarro (flu), and Rafinha and Emre Can, who are both not yet 100 percent fit after minor injuries.

Tom Starke, who switched to Bayern from Hoffenheim last summer and returns to his former stamping ground for the first time, might get a run-out on Sunday. Heynckes went out of his way to praise his backup keeper. "We keep talking about the new arrivals who've made a big impact. I count Tom among their number," commented the coach, "he's become even better with us than he was before. And he's a great personality who fits in really well."

Starke looking forward to reunion

Heynckes declined to say whether Starke would start on Sunday, although the head coach has already decided that the keeper will make "one or two" Bundesliga appearances this term. The shot-stopper is eagerly looking forward to revisiting his previous club: "I'm excited about seeing many familiar faces who I came to know and love. I had a very good time there, and I have nothing but happy memories." However, Starke is naturally hoping his current club come away with all three points on this occasion.
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Re: Leaders expect 'no stroll' in Hoffenheim

Postby MoFattal » Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:03 pm

It would be really nice seeing Starke getting a rare BL start.
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