Buoyant Bayern hunt Wolfsburg
Bayern Munich will attempt to prove their win over Fiorentina in the UEFA Champions League was no fluke when they take on Wolfsburg this weekend, while surprise package Hoffenheim aim to down leaders Hamburg.
Defending champions Bayern picked up their first win in four league games last Saturday when they poached a late 1-0 win at Karlsruhe, before beating Fiorentina 3-0 at Munich's Allianz Arena on Tuesday. But captain Mark van Bommel says the team now need three more points against Wolfsburg in Munich on Saturday to improve on their lowly position of 11th in the Bundesliga.
"," said van Bommel, recalling how Bayern finished undefeated in the league last season. "Everyone knows what he has to do, and the spirit has raised in the team."
Defeats to both Werder Bremen and Hanover in September had seen Bayern slide down the table and coach Jurgen Klinsmann came under fire. Wolfsburg, coached by former Bayern boss Felix Magath, will not make life easy, as they are fifth in the table.
"We must try to beat Wolfsburg, but it will not be an easy game for us," said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "Wolfsburg have improved dramatically in the last year and invested heavily, they are a team to be taken seriously."
Bayern will be without defender Philipp Lahm who is in a plaster cast after damaging his ankle against Fiorentina. While Wolfsburg will be missing Italy FIFA World Cup™ winner Cristian Zaccardo who also has an ankle injury, his Azzurri team-mate Andrea Barzagli should be fit to play in the defence.
On Sunday, high-flying league leaders Hamburg face second-placed Hoffenheim, who were only promoted to the Bundesliga last season. Senegal striker Demba Ba, who has five goals from eight games so far this season, is struggling to shake off a bout of 'flu.
Martin Jol will review his side after Thursday night's UEFA Cup tie against MSK Zilina, while Stuttgart coach Armin Veh will do the same after his side play FC Sevilla ahead of Sunday's league visit of VfL Bochum.
Sixth-placed Schalke 04 have less than 48 hours between their UEFA Cup clash with Paris St Germain on Thursday and Saturday's visit of third-from-bottom Arminia Bielefeld. Midfielders Carlos Grossmuller and Gustavo Varela were demoted to the reserve team in midweek for disciplinary reasons, while Germany defender Christian Pander is still struggling with a calf injury.
On Friday, third-placed Bayer Leverkusen take on mid-table Cologne.