Bayern looking to redeem themselves

5th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 February 2004, HAMBURG - Bayern Munich, embarrassed by a midweek cup defeat, need to get their act together if they want to avoid another slip in the Bundesliga against Hanover 96 on Sunday. Munich's plan of attacking the league leaders after the winter break went badly wrong last week when they were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Eintracht Frankfurt. The third place Bavarians trail leaders Werder Bremen by six points and Wednesday's 2-1 cup elimination at that hands of second division Aache

5 February 2004

HAMBURG - Bayern Munich, embarrassed by a midweek cup defeat, need to get their act together if they want to avoid another slip in the Bundesliga against Hanover 96 on Sunday.

Munich's plan of attacking the league leaders after the winter break went badly wrong last week when they were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Eintracht Frankfurt.

The third place Bavarians trail leaders Werder Bremen by six points and Wednesday's 2-1 cup elimination at that hands of second division Aachen considerably added to their woes.

"We are bitterly disappointed. We were an embarrassment," said coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

"We have to watch out in the coming weeks," added Hitzfeld, looking ahead at the upcoming Bundesliga games and a Champions League round of 16 date with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

The Bundesliga could soon be Munich's only chance to win a title, which makes a victory on Sunday even more important.

Playmaker Michael Ballack is still the centre of criticism, with club boss Franz beckenbauer saying that he is not really part of the game and "makes mistakes when he gets the ball".

Hanover have never won in Munich, but have nothing to lose as they are established in the mid-table region.

New hirings Clint Mathis and Jaime were instant hits as each player scored in the 3-2 win over SV Hamburg. Now siimilar hopes rest on Portuguese defender Abel Xavier, who was the last addition to the team early in the week.

Leaders Werder Bremen, meanwhile, narrowly avoided a cup disaster with two late goals for a lucky 3-2 win at division two Greuther Fuerth - which kept alive their dream of a domestic double.

Their next Bundesliga task sees them in Moenchengladbach, who are also in the cup semis. But Thomas Schaaf's team will need vast improvement to win there as well.

Bremen enjoy a four-point lead over VfB Stuttgart, who are at bottom club Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

Hertha lost defender Bart Goor with a fractured leg on Thursday, but hope for goals from newly signed Giuseppe Reina.

Reina joined Hertha from Borussia Dortmund, who are also in deep trouble after a 1-0 home defeat against Schalke left them winless in six games.

Dortmund's German international defender Christian Woerns said he saw no reason to question the authority of coach Matthias Sammer.

But the sports magazine Kicker speculated Thursday that Sammer might have to go if Dortmund lose Saturday's game in Wolfsburg.

Kaiserslautern, meanwhile, fired coach Eric Gerets on Monday and replaced him with Kurt Jara, who makes his debut in a crucial game against fellow-strugglers Cologne on Saturday.

"There is not much I can do initially. My first task will be to install confidence in the players," said Jara.

The other games are Bayer Leverkusen vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, Hansa Rostock vs. SC Freiburg, Schalke 04 vs. 1860 Munich and SV Hamburg vs. VfL Bochum (all Saturday).

DPA
Subject: German news

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