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Roy and Mark lead late-season charge

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Roy and Mark lead late-season charge

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:35 pm


The on-field rivalry between Germany and the Netherlands stretches back decades and is charged with as much emotion as any comparison in world football, but the intense feelings between the two nations have merged to form an energising power at Bayern at this term: Dutch duo Roy Makaay and Mark van Bommel occupy uncontested positions of authority and influence in the German champions' team hierarchy.

Sunday's meeting with Bayern Leverkusen simply underlined that fact. The "Flying Dutchmen" delivered the most shots at the visitors' goal, scored both goals in the 2-1 victory, and have now either scored or provided on 25 occasions this season, contributing to more than half Bayern's 45 league strikes this term. Now, the pair have joined forces again to kick off the champions' preparations for next Saturday's crunch trip to VfB Stuttgart.

<b>Raring to go</b>

"It's just one match out of 34," Van Bommel insisted, looking forward to his 30th birthday on the day after Bayern's visit to Swabia. "But you could say there are more than three points at stake on Saturday," he acknowledged in advance of the fixture billed by coach Ottmar Hitzfeld as the decider in the battle for third place.

Makaay is equally fired up for the game. "Saturday is our chance to prove we belong in the top three, and that's what we're going to do," the striker declared after taking his personal tally to eight goals in eight games against Leverkusen. He is now determined to build on his total of five goals and an assist in nine meetings with VfB.

<b>Winning attitude</b>

"What matters is that we finally have our fate in our own hands," he continued, recognising that the fixture is Munich's last chance to recover third place in a meeting with a direct rival. Victory would mean a giant stride towards the club's stated minimum target of qualifying for the Champions League.

However, the season does not end on Saturday, and Van Bommel called on his team-mates to win all five of their remaining fixtures. "Then let's see what happens," the midfielder remarked. "We're a good team, and we're not where we could be." Neither has Van Bommel entirely given up on a late dash to the title. Asked whether Schalke would finish ahead of Bremen, Stuttgart and Bayern, the Dutchman remained enigmatic: "I don't believe it will end the way it stands now."
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