1 April 2004
HAMBURG – Bayern Munich have long shaken off their Kaiserslautern trauma, but even a victory there on Saturday will likely not raise their chances to win back-to-back Bundesliga titles.
That is because runaway leaders Werder Bremen have what appears an easy home game against mid-table SC Freiburg the following day.
Bremen got a morale-boosting 4-4 draw at third-place Stuttgart and seem unstoppable on the way to their fourth Bundesliga title with now 17 undefeated games.
Werder have 62 points, with Bayern on 53 and Stuttgart at 48 points.
Munich’s only hope lies in a Bremen slump, but they have not impressed themselves this season.
“We must be glad if we finish second,” admitted club boss Franz Beckenbauer.
However, the trip to Kaiserslautern is no longer a nightmare as they have not lost at the once dreaded Betzenberg since 1998 and not conceded a goal there in the last four games.
In the past Munich were regularly beaten there, most famously a 7- 4 in the 1970s in which Munich blew a 4-1 halftime lead.
Kaiserslautern, for their part, are struggling in the lowlands of the standings and need every point they can get.
The injury-related absence of star striker Miroslav Klose is a major blow for them, but coach Kurt Jara remains upbeat.
“We face two tough games against Munich and in Leverkusen. But our team has proven that it can match any opponent …. I fully trust my team,” Jara said in an interview with Thursday’s edition of Kicker sports magazine.
Bremen, meanwhile, seemingly can’t do anything wrong as not even Stuttgart were able to derail their lonely run at the top.
Now Freiburg come to town, who are yet to win away from home this season and have conceded 29 goals in their 12 away games so far.
“We must be very careful and watch out on the defensive side,” said Freiburg defender Boubacar Diarra.
Bremen’s league top scorer Ailton is the biggest threat as he’s ready to add to his 24 goals as he aims to end his final season at the club as league champion and cup winner.
“I may be able to score another six or seven goals,” he said.
In other action on Saturday, bottom club Cologne host fellow- strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt in what could be their very last chance to avoid relegation.
In-form Bayer Leverkusen visit lowly Borussia Moenchengladbach, 1860 Munich take on Hanover in another meeting of struggling clubs, Stuttgart visit VfL Wolfsburg, drop zone club Hertha Berlin host Hansa Rostock, and Schalke 04 meet SV Hamburg.
The second Sunday game brings together UEFA Cup aspirants Borussia Dortmund and VfL Bochum.
Subject: German news