Bundesliga prepares for striker showdown

30th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 September 2004, HAMBURG - Champions Werder Bremen run into Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga's top clash on Saturday highlighted by a showdown of in-form strikers Miroslav Klose and Roy Makaay. "Duel of the strikers," said the front-page headline of Kicker sports magazine on Thursday. Klose scored a hat-trick in Bremen's 4-1 demolition of VfL Bochum last weekend while, on Wednesday, he scored the equaliser and fed Angelos Charisteas for the winner in a 2-1 Champions League win over Valencia. Makaay also

30 September 2004

HAMBURG - Champions Werder Bremen run into Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga's top clash on Saturday highlighted by a showdown of in-form strikers Miroslav Klose and Roy Makaay.

"Duel of the strikers," said the front-page headline of Kicker sports magazine on Thursday.

Klose scored a hat-trick in Bremen's 4-1 demolition of VfL Bochum last weekend while, on Wednesday, he scored the equaliser and fed Angelos Charisteas for the winner in a 2-1 Champions League win over Valencia.

Makaay also has four goals over the past days, a hat-trick in Munich's 4-0 Champions League rout of Ajax Amsterdam (in which he also set up Ze Roberto for Munich's fourth) plus one goal in the last Bundesliga match, a 3-1 win over Freiburg.

"This was great for my confidence," said Klose, who is starting to defy the critics after a slow start to the season.

While Klose still has a long way to go to match the likes of former favourite Rudi Voeller in Bremen, Makaay is by now being compared to Munich legend Gerd Mueller.

"He knows within a split second whether to shoot the ball low past the goalkeeper or high into the net. The last man who could do that was Gerd Mueller," said Munich captain Oliver Kahn of the Dutchman Makaay.

Makaay has proven with 40 goals in 55 competitive matches for Munich that he is worth every cent of the club record 18.75 million euros Munich paid for him last year.

His average is 0.72 goals per game, just shy of the 0.75 per cent "Der Bomber" Mueller had in his career in the 1970s.

Mueller admitted his deep respect for his heir: "Makaay is really deadly in front of the goal."

Bremen's defender Valerien Ismael, by contrast, is not afraid of Makaay although he highly respects him.

"You are assured of at least 20 goals if you have someone like him on the team. But I am not scared of him," said Ismael.

The game is far more than a duel of the strikers, it is a "key match" (Ismael) for either side to stay in contact with the leaders.

Bremen and Munich have raised their game after a mediocre start to the season by their standards to rank third and fourth with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

"It is a key match and we want to make up for last season as well," said Munich midfielder Michael Ballack (who may be sidelined with a foot injury) in reference to the fact that Bremen clinched the 2004 title with a 3-1 victory in Munich.

Up front, surprise package VfL Wolfsburg (15 points) aim to retain the lead with a victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach Saturday, while second-placed VfB Stuttgart (14) visit Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.

Hertha Berlin look for their first win of the season against Kaiserslautern, SC Freiburg host strong newcomers Mainz 05, Borussia Dortmund take on Nuremberg, troubled Bayer Leverkusen play SV Hamburg and Hansa Rostock play Hanover 96 in a duel of the bottom clubs on Saturday.

Ralf Rangnick makes his league debut as new Schalke 04 coach in Sunday's other match, at home to neighbours VfL Bochum.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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