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Top spot is target for resurgent Munich

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Top spot is target for resurgent Munich

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:45 pm


Bayern have won their last three Bundesliga fixtures, but have been forced to come from behind on all three occasions. "That can't go on indefinitely," Uli Hoeneß warned following last weekend's Hamburg trip. "It would be good to try it without conceding the first goal," Roy Makaay smiled wryly ahead of Saturday's home meeting with Borussia Monchengladbach (<b>Live in English on Web Radio from 3:15pm CET</b>).

"I'd like to see us take the lead as early as possible in the first half," coach Felix Magath commented, reflecting the buoyant mood at the club right now. "The atmosphere here and the way we're training show that we're heading in the right direction. All the omens point to us continuing the chase on Saturday and making more progress up the table."

<b>Following events elsewhere</b>

Bayern have by no means given up on the so-called autumn championship, an unofficial title bestowed on the team at the top of the standings halfway through the league programme. "That's our target," Magath insisted, although the matter is not entirely in Bayern's hands as the champions lie three points off leaders Schalke 04. "We'll have to see how our rivals get on, but what we have to do is win. That's essential for us to continuing our progress," the coach added.

The double winners certainly appear in good shape for an assault on first place. The current sequence of three wins on the bounce is the first sign of a trademark all-conquering run in 2006. Furthermore, the Reds have consecutive home games against relegation candidates (Gladbach and Cottbus) in the space of a week, and Magath picks from close on a fully-fit squad.

<b>Lucio set to start</b>

However, the boss is unlikely to make wholesale changes to a winning team. Lucio is a definite starter, Magath announced on Thursday, with Martin Demichelis the man most likely to give way. Lukas Podolski resumed training on Wednesday after a five-week lay-off and may not yet be considered fit enough for the bench.

Borussia, coached by the same Juup Heynckes who led Bayern to the league title in 1990 and 1991, are without five injured regulars including Germany international Oliver Neuville. Gladbach are the league's worst travellers with just a single point and four goals away from Borussia Park this season, but have not given up hope of avoiding defeat at the Allianz Arena. "Anything can happen in football. Hanover showed the way to go," Heynckes declared.

<b>No slip-ups</b>

Hanover were bottom of the table when they came away from Munich with a shock 1-0 victory in early November, joining Bielefeld and Wolfsburg as the third unfancied side to take maximum points from a meeting with mighty Bayern this term. "We've provided enough boosts to morale this season," Roy Makaay remarked, "but we'll be more careful this time. We need 100 percent concentration."

The club's leading scorer called on his side to pick up where they left off in the second half against Hamburg a week ago. "We showed our true capabilities. Now we need to do that from the start. We need to show Gladbach there's no way they'll come away with anything."

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

<b>Bayern Munich:</b> Kahn - Sagnol, Lucio, van Buyten, Lahm - van Bommel, Ottl, Schweinsteiger, Salihamidzic - Pizarro, Makaay

<b>Borussia Monchengladbach:</b> Keller - Helveg, Svensson, Zé Antonio, Levels - Thijs, Polanski - Delura, Insua, Kluge - Kahe

<b>Referee:</b> Dr. Markus Merk (Otterbach)

<b>Bayern's record in it the fixture:</b> P39 W30 D8 L1 F106 A33
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