Bayern edges back towards the top

18th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 November 2004, HAMBURG - The last time Bayern Munich stood at the summit of German football was on 24 May 2003 - the last day of the 2002/2003 season, which Bayern ended as champions with a 16 point lead over second-placed VfB Stuttgart. Since then, Bayern have had to watch Werder Bremen win the double and this season they have played second fiddle first to Stuttgart and then - for eight weeks now - to underdogs Wolfsburg. That, of course, is something that greatly irks the powers-that-be at Bayern and

18 November 2004

HAMBURG - The last time Bayern Munich stood at the summit of German football was on 24 May 2003 - the last day of the 2002/2003 season, which Bayern ended as champions with a 16 point lead over second-placed VfB Stuttgart.

Since then, Bayern have had to watch Werder Bremen win the double and this season they have played second fiddle first to Stuttgart and then - for eight weeks now - to underdogs Wolfsburg.

That, of course, is something that greatly irks the powers-that-be at Bayern and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge warned the club that they should not get used to losing matches.

On Saturday, the 18-time German champions can - at least momentarily - regain the lead in the Bundesliga. For that, they need to avoid defeat at home against struggling Kaiserslautern. A point will see Bayern overtake Wolfsburg on goal difference and spend at least a night at the top of the table.

The team from northern Germany travel to Hamburg on Sunday for a regional derby against SV Hamburg, which, after a poor start to the season, has turned things around since the appointment of Thomas Doll as head coach.

Also hoping for an improvement under a new coach is bottom team Hansa Rostock, whose coach Juri Schluenz resigned on Sunday after his team were hammered 6-0 by Hamburg.

Rostock have appointed Joerg Berger in Schluenz's place and the 60-year-old will be in charge of his new team for the first time in Saturday's match at Hertha Berlin.

The only club from the former East Germany remaining in the top flight is already six points behind a non-relegation place and can ill afford to drop another three points.

Schalke 04, whose run of six victories in a row under new coach Ralf Rangnick came to an abrupt end with an unexpected home defeat against Berlin last weekend, are away to Bayer Leverkusen. A victory for Schalke would see them draw level on points with Wolfsburg.

Champions Werder Bremen, whose form in the league has not been as spectacular as it was last season, travel to in-form Arminia Bielefeld.

Werder could well be without striker Miroslav Klose, who scored twice during Germany's 3-0 midweek win against Cameroon, but picked up an injury in the process. Bielefeld's South African striker Delron Buckley, who leads the scorer charts with ten goals, also played international football on Wednesday in his country's 2-1 win against Nigeria, but is expected back in Bielefeld for the clash against the champions.

Former Champions League winners Dortmund, who have slipped perilously close to the relegation zone, are hoping to push SC Freiburg deeper into the drop zone with a victory in Dortmund.

In a week that saw sparks flying at the AGM of the only listed club in Germany, three points for Dortmund would possibly help towards easing tensions at the troubled club.

Stuttgart, who were the early pace-setters, but have lost four of their last five league matches, are at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach, while Bochum travel to Mainz in the only other match on Saturday.

On Sunday Nuremberg are at home to Hanover.

DPA

Subject: German news

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