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Steaua stand between FCB and knockout stage

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Steaua stand between FCB and knockout stage

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:00 pm

Bayern's Champions League Group F meeting with Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday evening (Live in English from 8.30 pm CET on FCB Web Radio) appears a routine task on paper. The Romanians are bottom of the section and the German champions have yet to lose in Europe this term, but Jürgen Klinsmann still warned his men to prepare for "an awesome clash" as they attempt to reach the knockout stages with a game to spare. "We want a place in the last sixteen, and we want it now," the FCB head coach declared.

To be certain of going through, Bayern require a single point against a Bucharest side without a win in 12 matches. That would allow the Bavarians to focus 100 percent on the trip to joint leaders Lyon in two weeks' time, which would then also serve to decide the winners of the group. For this reason alone, FCB will not settle for a draw at home to Steaua. A win would make it far easier for Bayern to finish top of the section, "and that's our second target," advised Mark van Bommel.

Hard work ahead

Group winners play the first leg in the first knockout round away from home, with the decisive return in front of their home crowd. "It's easier, in my opinion. When I was with Barcelona and we won the Champions League, we had the away match first on three occasions," Van Bommel noted. Added Bastian Schweinsteiger: "That's how we beat Real and made the quarter-finals in 2007." FCB lost 3-2 in Madrid two years ago, but won the home leg 2-1.

Before all of that, Bayern must deal with the men from Bucharest, "and it'll be very hard work," Klinsmann repeated. "We're expecting a very, very difficult match. Steaua have their backs to the wall, it's their last chance." Defeat for the Romanians in Munich would effectively end their hopes of finishing third in the group and entering the UEFA Cup in the new year.

Demichelis and Podolski doubtful

Bayern's travails in winning 1-0 in the Romanian capital should be enough to quash any risk of over-confidence. "They were very close to causing us a lot of trouble. They very nearly equalised," Klinsmann recalled after the Romanians twice hit the woodwork. "They're a strong and able team who'll push us all the way," the coach admonished, urging his team to approach the clash "with maximum concentration and aggression."

The boss's words will not have fallen on deaf ears. Steaua have won none of their last 15 Champions League fixtures, "but we don't want to be going to Lyon still needing a point," Schweinsteiger said, underlining the seriousness with which Bayern are treating Tuesday's game. Martin Demichelis (calf) and Lukas Podolski (back) are both doubtful, but the FCB camp remains upbeat ahead of kick-off. "We're in good shape right now and looking forward to facing Steaua Bucharest," Klinsmann declared. The last sixteen beckons.
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