Created on 27-01-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern are still without a derby victory at the Allianz Arena after Saturday's third such meeting with TSV 1860 Munich ended in a 1-1 stalemate, but once the final whistle had blown, the men in red rapidly turned their attention to the future. Despite failing to beat the Lions from across town for the fourth time in a row, the Bundesliga leaders are approaching the second half of the campaign and their quest for three trophies in confident mood.
"I'm not entirely happy with the result, but I'm pleased enough with the way we played. I think we're in good shape," commented manager Uli Hoeneß after the 50th draw in the 203rd meeting between the city rivals. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld also reckoned his men were ready for the demanding second half of the season. "Friendlies are no indicator of form. We're in great shape and I'm very optimistic," the 59-year-old declared: "We're well on course“.
Cup more important than derby
Bayern return to competitive action on Tuesday with a German Cup Round of 16 trip to face third division Wuppertaler SV at the Schalke Arena in Gelsenkirchen, before travelling to relegation-threatened Hansa Rostock in the Bundesliga three days later. That, felt left-back Philipp Lahm, was another reason not to read too much into the derby draw. "We played to win, but the games on Tuesday and Friday are more important than today's.“
Even before the fourth and final mid-season friendly, Hitzfeld had advised he would use the game to try out a few line-up options and experiment tactically. "I wanted all the players to have another chance. I learned a lot from the match," Hitzfeld confirmed afterwards. The agile Jan Schlaudraff, whose late effort came within inches of sealing a merited victory, will certainly have done his chances of a super-sub role no harm at all.
Knocks for Schweini and Ottl
Hitzfeld revealed he has already settled on Tuesday's starting line-up. "We know who'll begin the match,“ he confirmed. Most observers expect to see Kahn in goal, a back four of Sagnol, Lucio, Demichelis and Lahm, a midfield comprising Sosa, Van Bommel, Zé Roberto and Ribéry, and a front pairing of Toni and Klose. "I'm pleased I'll be picking the team from a full squad," explained Hitzfeld, "in fact, the most important thing about the derby was that we came away without new injuries.“
The only definite absentees for Tuesday are long-term casualties Marcell Jansen and Lukas Podolski, although there are question marks over Bastian Schweinsteiger (hamstring) and Andreas Ottl (calf). "I have a feeling we're in good shape physically," Hoeneß remarked on Saturday. "And everyone knows who's the best team in Munich. We don't need to go out and win the derby to prove it.“