oBayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes his side will begin five crucial days tomorrow, when they travel to Bundesliga title rivals Wolfsburg ahead of facing Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. Bayern are level on both points and goals with Wolfsburg, just behind league leaders Hertha Berlin, and then travel to Camp Nou on Wednesday for the first leg of their continental quarter-final.
Because of international call-ups, the former Germany forward has only had eight of his squad to train with for the last two weeks, with the last of his players having returned from 2010 FIFA World Cup South AfricaTM duty only today. "The Wolfsburg game will be a test of our strength and character in the fight for the championship and Champions League qualification for next season - a lot is at stake," said Klinsmann.
"We could only prepare for such an important game as early as Friday. The time is damned short, but Bayern Munich is used to this situation. From our point of view, it is only nice when people return to the club having been successful for their country and without injury."
Under former Bayern coach Felix Magath, Wolfsburg are a strong unit and have won all bar one of their games at home this season. In strikers Grafite and Edin Dzek, they have the league's most dangerous pairing with 21 goals between them.
With his side facing a huge test at Camp Nou, Klinsmann said it is also important his side get a good result to gain valuable confidence before heading to Spain. "Wolfsburg will be a factor whether we go with our heads held high to Barcelona," he said. "We need a lot of confidence for both games. We have to give everything we can against Wolfsburg and the team will have to go to their limits."
Bayern will welcome back Italian pair, striker Luca Toni and defender Massimo Oddo, for the Wolfsburg trip. The former scored a hat-trick in a training game on Wednesday, and has recovered from his achilles tendon injury.
League leaders Hertha need to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat at Stuttgart last time out, as they look to hold their position at the summit when they host Borussia Dortmund. They are waiting to see if the in-form Andrei Voronin will be fit after he broke his nose playing for Ukraine against England on Wednesday.
Hertha coach Lucien Favre has recalled midfielder Patrick Ebert to the senior squad after he was demoted to the reserves last month following a late-night drinking incident.
Hamburg are level on points with both Bayern and Wolfsburg, but are only fourth on goal difference, and they host fifth-placed Hoffenheim, who are now four points off the pace.
Hamburg coach Martin Jol is waiting on the fitness of both forward Mladen Petric and defender Guy Demel, who are struggling with injury. Jerome Boateng is out with the flu while midfielder Marcell Jansen, who left the Germany squad on Wednesday suffering with the same illness, is hopeful of playing.
Stuttgart travel to Bochum tomorrow hoping goalkeeper Jens Lehmann will have signed an extension to his contract, which expires in the summer.
Seventh-placed Bayer Leverkusen are at Cologne on Sunday, with Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler insisting he will play despite suffering with an elbow injury.
Manchester United-Aston Villa, Hamburg-Hoffenheim and Atalanta-Fiorentina are among the matches on the FIFA World Leagues Predictor's Round 29 menu. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up and take a shot at winning this weekend's prize.