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Beware battling Energie, Hitzfeld warns players

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Bayern registered a comfortable 3-0 win away to Energie Cottbus in May last year courtesy of goals from Roy Makaay, Daniel van Buyten and Roque Santa Cruz. Some ten months later, the Bavarians return to the Lausitz region (Live in English from 3.15 pm on Web Radio), although the Munich line-up has a radically different look these days following the summer overhaul.

Christian Lell is one of those remaining from last season. “If we want the three points, we’ll have to concentrate 100 percent,” the Munich-born full-back remarked on the eve of the first sell-out fixture at the Stadion der Freundschaft (Stadium of Friendship) this term. The match pitches the bottom club against the leaders, but no-one at Bayern is expecting anything less than a tough challenge.

Hitzfeld issues warning

“Cottbus will run and fight for their lives and put up stern resistance. We must not underestimate this kind of opponent,” warned head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. “Cottbus have their backs to the wall, and that makes them even more dangerous,” Lell agreed. Energie are staring at the drop and need every point they can get. “It’ll be hard. Cottbus will be burning with desire,” Mark van Bommel added.

The temperature at Bayern rose a few degrees on Friday afternoon when Hitzfeld suspended Martin Demichelis for refusing to fill a defensive midfield position in Cottbus. “It’s OK if things get a bit heated here. It’s a wake-up call to the team, which will help us take Saturday’s opponents seriously," reasoned the Bayern boss.

Bouncing back from Anderlecht

Hitzfeld urged his men to make amends for the midweek defeat at home to Anderlecht. “Anderlecht was a shot across the bows for us. We need to be at least 20 to 30 percent more fired up against Cottbus.“ Lell reckoned he and his team-mates would be “much more focused. We don’t want them causing us any problems.“

With no one individual truly making a case for inclusion last Wednesday, Hitzfeld is certain to rotate his team in a number of positions. Van Bommel serves the last match of a Bundesliga ban, but Demichelis aside, the rest of the squad is available.

Cottbus with nothing to lose

Energie coach Bojan Prasnikar will also send out a full-strength line-up, and hopes the full house will serve as additional motivation to his players: “We have nothing to lose against the strongest team in Germany at the moment, but we have a great deal to win."

Bayern matchday squad: Kahn, Rensing, Lell, Lahm, Jansen, Lucio, Van Buyten, Breno, Altintop, Sosa, Ottl, Zé Roberto, Kroos, Schweinsteiger, Ribéry, Toni, Klose, Podolski