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Magath surveys array of striking options

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Magath surveys array of striking options

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Sep 13, 2006 7:15 pm


Bayern's opening match in the Champions League began in stuttering fashion, "but then suddenly everything fell into place," Uli Hoeneß observed, with the game providing not only three very welcome points, but evidence that the German champions currently boast an embarrassment of riches in attack. The Munich squad features four top-quality strikers almost guaranteed to prompt a sleepless night or two among defenders both at home and abroad.

Coach Felix Magath admitted he had opted for a "slightly risky" solution against Spartak Moscow, as he chose to dispense with the services of Roy Makaay, the club's leading Champions League scorer with 27 goals in 53 appearances. Instead, he opted for the untried pair of Claudio Pizarro and Lukas Podolski, supported by Roque Santa Cruz operating in attacking midfield.

<b>Laying down a marker</b>

"We'd never played with this formation before. I wanted to make the point that we had to attack," the boss commented following the club's biggest-ever margin of victory in the first Champions League fixture of the campaign.

The situation up front looked a lot less healthy just four weeks ago, when Makaay was the only realistic option for the Bundesliga opener against Borussia Dortmund. Santa Cruz was in contention to take over the Michael Ballack position in midfield, Pizarro was injured, and Podolski was struggling for fitness after the World Cup.

<b>Pressure on Makaay</b>

However, with the traditionally crucial autumn schedule looming, the picture has dramatically changed. Makaay is "going through a difficult phase," the coach admitted, but the established Dutchman's rivals are nearing peak form. Podolski opened his account at the club in the Cup against St Pauli last Saturday, and his form for the German national team indicates an almost complete recovery. Both Pizarro and Santa Cruz scored for the first time this term in the Moscow clash.

"I'm delighted to see the strikers get on the scoresheet. That's what we pay them to do," Magath commented afterwards. "And that's how it should be. It's good for the rest of the team to know we have plenty of firepower."

However, the Munich coach voiced sympathy for the man he omitted from the team. "It's a little bit of a shame that Roy wasn't part of that. I'm hoping the break does him some good. Roy is a top-class goalscorer, and we'll always need a player like that."

<b>Roy's remarkable record</b>

The Netherlands international could be in line for a recall as soon as this coming Saturday, when Bayern go in search of Bundesliga points in Bielefeld. Makaay is currently the leading scorer at the club on two goals this term, and a record of 64 goals and 25 assists in 99 matches speaks for itself. All in all, Magath presides over the kind of selection problem other coaches would be only too grateful to face.
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