Created on 24-08-2007 at 00:00 AM
Bayern are looking to extend the second-best start to a Bundesliga season in the history of the club by making it three wins out of three so far this term at home to Hannover 96 on Saturday afternoon (Live in English from 3.15 pm on FCB.tv Web Radio). "We won't be able to continue calling it a good start unless we take all three points," Ottmar Hitzfeld announced.
The visitors from Lower Saxony chalked up a first win of the campaign away to Karlsruhe last week, but Bayern start the match as overwhelming favourites - just as they were before the corresponding fixture in November last season, when Hannover came to Munich and won 1-0. "And we had lots of problems at their place too, even though we won 2-1," Mark van Bommel recalled. Added Hitzfeld: "We know all about Hannover.“
Taking nothing for granted
Saturday's opponents boast a forward line based on talented Germany man Mike Hanke, and a solid rearguard. "Hannover are very well organised, and their tails are up after winning in Karlsruhe,“ Hitzfeld warned, "we'll have our work cut out breaking down their defence. Ever since Burghausen, we know not to take anything for granted.“
Bayern's preparations for the match have been far from ideal. "We've not had the opportunity to work on anything special for Saturday," Hitzfeld confirmed. Following the return of the club's current internationals from midweek duty, final training on Friday was the first time the squad has been together this week.
Toni as lone striker?
The Reds continue to suffer selection problems in attack: Luca Toni is the only recognised striker fit to appear. Hitzfeld revealed he is considering fielding a lone frontman as deployed in the pre-season League Cup, with three attacking midfielders in support. However, the standard 4-4-2 would be possible with lanky reserve Sandro Wagner alongside Toni.
Miroslav Klose, Marcell Jansen, Jose Ernesto Sosa, Willy Sagnol and Jan Schlaudraff are all definitely sidelined, with Lukas Podolski a candidate for the bench after a successful run-out with the reserves last weekend.
Old boy Tarnat missing for Hannover
Hannover boss Dieter Hecking is also without key players, including defender Vinicius and striker Thomas Brdaric. Former Bayern stalwart Michael Tarnat has a torn muscle and cannot enjoy a reunion with his former team-mates, although highly-rated keeper Robert Enke is back after shaking off an elbow injury.
The men from Lower Saxony are approaching Saturday's match in confident mood. "We're not going to hide, and we'll play to our strengths. I want my team to give it a go," Hecking stated, hoping to catch Bayern off guard following their smooth start to the season.
However, the Munich camp is bristling with resolve at the present time. "We can't get careless, or we'll turn into our own worst enemies," Van Bommel declared. Hitzfeld commented: "We've won nothing yet. The season's just two games old. We'll be suitably focused for Saturday's match.“
That is especially true at home to Hannover, where there is a minor score to settle. "It was tough last season, but now we're in good shape. That's the decisive difference," Van Bommel reasoned. Bayern fans will hope that difference is reflected in the result.
Bayern Munich: Kahn - Lell, Lucio, Demichelis, Lahm - Van Bommel, Zé Roberto - Schweinsteiger, Ribéry, Altintop - Toni
Also in matchday squad: Rensing, Ottl, Van Buyten, Ismael, Podolski, Wagner, Sikorski
Hannover 96: Enke - Cherundolo, Kleine, Fahrenhorst, Halfar - Balitsch, Lala (Yankov) - Lauth, Bruggink, Huszti - Hanke
Referee: Mr Kinhöfer (Herne)