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Reds aim to maintain drive for third spot

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Reds aim to maintain drive for third spot

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:15 pm


Bayern are determined to follow up Tuesday’s strong showing in the Champions League with another good display when the Bundesliga champions return to domestic action away to Hanover 96 on Saturday (<b>Live in English from 3.15 pm on Web Radio</b>. Should Stuttgart fail to beat Hamburg, the Reds could even climb to third in the standings – always providing they themselves beat the UEFA Cup aspirants from Lower Saxony.

“As professionals, we’ve got to be able to make the switch immediately,” Daniel van Buyten reflected ahead of a match sandwiched by the glamour double-header against the might of AC Milan. “We’re only fourth in the league at the moment, but we want to qualify for the Champions League, so we need a good result in Hanover.”

<b>Score to settle</b>

Bayern’s solitary home defeat of the season came when the Hanoverians visited the Allianz Arena last autumn, “so we have a score to settle,” Ottmar Hitzfeld declared. “My players want revenge, and that’ll be reflected in the way we play.”

More importantly, the men from Munich are desperately keen to erase a fallibility on the road which has brought five defeats to teams from the lower reaches of the table. “We’ve dropped too many points against so-called weaker opponents. That should motivate us to do better at the weekend,” Philipp Lahm urged. “We’ve not been the strongest away team in the league, but we want that to change.”

<b>Intelligence required</b>

Hitzfeld may even be relieved that the team currently lying seventh in the standings hardly rate as underdogs. “Hanover aren’t one of the smaller clubs. They’ve come along well,” the General argued. “Their 4-2-3-1 system means they keep it tight and hit you on the break. We don’t need to take the initiative or push too hard. We need to find the right balance.”

The best recipe would be that used against Schalke and Real Madrid, when Bayern scored early and forced their opponents to come at them. “I think Hanover could be vulnerable to counter-attacks. We need to play with a lot of intelligence,” Hitzfeld reasoned, reassured by the return of Oliver Kahn and Mark van Bommel from suspension against Milan.

<b>Lucio and Salihamidzic doubtful</b>

On the negative side, the head coach is without Willy Sagnol for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury. “It’s a big loss. Willy’s a top-class footballer and character,” the boss lamented. Neither Lucio nor Hasan Salihamidzic took part in final training on Friday and both rate as doubtful for Hanover, although the pair will travel to Lower Saxony along with Owen Hargreaves, who was restricted to jogging on the eve of the match.

“It doesn’t matter who plays. They have quality throughout the squad. One or two absentees won’t help us,” Hanover supreme Dieter Hecking acknowledged in a pre-match news conference. For his men to chalk up a first home win over Bayern in 19 years, the experienced coach mused, “we’ll have to make a fight of it. We can only match them if we summon up everything we’ve got.”

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

<b>Hanover 96:</b> Enke - Cherundolo, Fahrenhorst, Zuraw, Vinicius (Halfar) - Balitsch, Lala - Rosenthal, Bruggink, Huszti – Stajner

<b>Bayern Munich:</b> Kahn - Salihamidzic (Lell), Lucio (Demichelis), van Buyten, Lahm - Ottl - Görlitz, Van Bommel, Schweinsteiger - Makaay, Pizarro
<b>Also in matchday squad:</b> Rensing, Scholl, Karimi, Podolski, Hargreaves, Santa Cruz, Ismael

<b>Referee:</b> Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)

<b>Bayern’s record in the fixture:</b> P17 W6 D6 L5 F31 A25
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