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Making amends

Reds aim to tame Wolves with team display

Two weeks after tasting defeat for the first time this season, Bayern are champing at the bit ahead of Saturday’s return to Bundesliga action at home to VfL Wolfsburg. “It’s vital we re-establish an upwards trend, and take all three points to bolster our position at the top of the table,” Ottmar Hitzfeld declared in the build-up to the meeting with the side lying eleventh.

Bayern’s last three league fixtures have produced goalless draws against Dortmund and Frankfurt, and the 3-1 reverse in Stuttgart, slashing their lead at the top to one point where once it was six. “It’s time to make amends,” Hitzfeld stated, “we need to restore our reputation after some poor results.“

Hitzfeld demands 100 percent

“We’ve only taken two points from our last three matches, so I regard the meeting with VfL as critical,” intoned chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Bayern could be knocked off top spot for the first time this season if they fail to beat the Wolves. “We need three more points towards winning the title,” Hitzfeld confirmed.

The Bayern coach issued an appeal to his men. “We must give it 100 percent, which we failed to do in Stuttgart,” he ordered, calling on his players to show strong team spirit. “I didn’t like what I saw in Stuttgart. Our defensive organisation was poor, some of my players were undisciplined,” Hitzfeld remarked at the time, before taking certain stars to one side for face-to-face talks.

Attack-oriented Wolfsburg

“Recent league games have shown it’s not enough just to turn up or give it 70 percent. Winning demands 100 percent, and we’re no exception,” admonished captain Oliver Kahn. Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath’s first return to his former stamping ground should both caution and inspire Kahn and Co in a match with something of an edge to it.

The Wolves have hardly set the league alight this term with eight points at home and eight on their travels, but they cannot be underestimated. “Wolfsburg are an attack-oriented team and clearly strongest in that department. They’ve scored at least once in every game,” noted Hitzfeld, “but they’re by no means as good a unit at the back.”

VfL with poor record in Munich

Wolfsburg were second only to Bayern in the summer spending stakes and boast a radically overhauled squad. “Wolfsburg have strength in depth, more than many other teams in the Bundesliga,” Hitzfeld commented. The General is convinced that his predecessor’s side will not simply defend at the Allianz Arena. “Unlike Frankfurt, they won’t just lie deep. They’ll come at us.“

History is on the leaders’ side, as the Wolves have garnered a solitary point in ten visits to Munich over the years. That must not change after Saturday, according to Rummenigge: “If we want to hold onto our lead and top the table at Christmas, we need a win.“

Probable line-ups:

Bayern Munich: Kahn - Lell, Demichelis, Van Buyten, Lahm - Altintop, Van Bommel, Zé Roberto, Ribery - Klose, Toni
Also in matchday squad: Rensing, Ottl, Podolski, Sosa, Kroos, Sagnol, Schlaudraff

VfL Wolfsburg: Jentzsch - Riether, Simunek, Costa, Schäfer - Josué, Gentner - Dejagah, Marcelinho, Krzynowek - Grafite

Referee: Knut Kircher (Rottenburg)

Bayern’s record in the fixture: P10 W9 D1 L0 F28 A7