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Upbeat Bayern ready for Frankfurt task

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Upbeat Bayern ready for Frankfurt task

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:15 pm

16.03.2007

Bayern have settled the question of who will be head coach next season, but the Bundesliga title race remains wide open, with the champions still hoping to come up with a triumphant answer. However, if the Reds are to move onwards and upwards from fourth place, they will need to win Saturday's trip to struggling Eintracht Frankfurt (<b>Live in English from 3.15 pm CET on FCB.tv Web Radio</b>).

"We've won nothing yet this season, and we still have our backs to the wall," coach Ottmar Hitzfeld insisted on the eve of the match. "We have a job to do, and we must take all three points. We're not underestimating the gravity of the situation."

<b>Perilous situation</b>

The men from Munich lie six points adrift of top club Schalke, three behind Werder Bremen, and two off VfB Stuttgart, who travel to face the leaders. "We're in fourth, so we have a few more points to catch up," Mark van Bommel observed. Added left-back Philipp Lahm: "If we want to stay in touch, we have to win. We need to make up ground."

The Bavarians meet an occasionally impressive but overall inconsistent Frankfurt side knowing there is a reasonable chance they could finally claim a top three berth before the weekend is out. Hitzfeld nevertheless described the situation as "perilous" with just nine games to play, reiterating the club's minimum target of qualifying for the Champions League. The team will be boosted by the General's decision to extend his contract until June 2008.

<b>Up for the fight</b>

"I'm delighted we've got the subject out of the way so we can concentrate on sport," the 58-year-old commented. "Frankfurt will be a completely different game compared to Bremen. Eintracht are battling to avoid the drop. We'll have to show our fighting qualities. They won't give anything away. Taking three points from Frankfurt will be very hard work."

The resurgent Bastian Schweinsteiger fully agreed. "It'll be a high temperature, fiercely contested game. Frankfurt are fighting for their lives. I have to say it's the kind of match you look forward to," the Germany international commented, recalling Bayern's most recent trip to the Commerzbank Arena in September 2005, "with a pretty hostile atmosphere."

<b>Playing catch up</b>

Following a positive first half of term, Frankfurt have won just one of their last eight games and languish in the relegation zone in 16th place, all of which serves as a warning to Saturday's visitors. "We've always struggled against teams down at the bottom. I'm expecting a very tough match. We mustn't underestimate any opponents. We've started chasing the top teams, but we can't afford to drop any more points," Van Bommel summarised.

Claudio Pizarro may not be fit to join the battle after sitting out Friday's final training session with a niggling knee problem, although the Peru man will make the trip to the banking metropolis. Lucio has been declared fit after shaking off a strain.

<b>Resolute and determined</b>

All this means Bayern are close to full strength on Saturday, and determined to close the gap to the top of the table. "We're in good shape, we'll give it our best shot, and the we're going to be very difficult to beat from now on," Lahm declared. "We're optimistic about our chances of winning."

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

<b>Eintracht Frankfurt:</b> Nikolov - Ochs, Russ, Kyrgiakos, Spycher - Fink - Preuß, Meier, Weissenberger - Takahara, Thurk

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

<b>Referee:</b> Michael Weiner (Giesen)

<b>Bayern's record be the fixture:</b> P36 W7 D13 L16 F43 A61
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