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‘Dangerous’ Karlsruhe

Free-scoring FCB seek sparkle at home

The Bayern squad basked in Thursday’s 5-0 triumph against Anderlecht for all of ten minutes before turning their attention to the next item on the agenda. The travelling fans were still in their block at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium in Brussels, applauding their heroes through a series of warm-down exercises out on the pitch, before the stars reported to the dressing room for stretching, massage and ice-baths in a 60-minute regeneration programme ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga meeting with Karlsruher SC. “We’re delighted with the win, but we’re focused on the Bundesliga again now,” commented Daniel van Buyten.

FCB are back in the thick of the battle for league points just 43 hours after the final whistle on Thursday, although the second half in Anderlecht was anything but energy-sapping for the dominant visitors, and Ottmar Hitzfeld even allowed himself the luxury of early substitutions.

Anderlecht result of strategic importance

“Our comfortable UEFA Cup win suits us strategically. You play a huge number of games in the UEFA Cup, but now we’re free to concentrate on the Bundesliga and the DFB Cup,” Oliver Kahn remarked. The captain took a break for “mental refreshment” in midweek, although he clearly enjoyed what he saw on TV.

Kahn even believes the Anderlecht triumph will inspire Bayern to greater heights in the domestic league. “You derive a huge amount of belief from a match like that, especially the conviction that we’re exceptionally hard to score against right now,” the captain explained at the Säbener Strasse on Friday.

Kahn: Beware my former club

The league leaders will need all the self-belief they can muster on Saturday, not least because they have failed to win at home in the Bundesliga since Christmas, drawing 1-1 with both Bremen and Hamburg. Moreover, KSC rate as the surprise package of the season so far. The promoted club lie a solid fifth in the standings, and the more enthusiastic fans are already dreaming of a UEFA Cup run next term.

“KSC are in superb shape. They have nothing to lose and believe in themselves. They’d like nothing better than to take a point or two off us,” warned the keeper, a Karlsruhe native and KSC youth product until departing for Munich in 1994. “They have the potential to retain fifth place until the end of the season.“

Zé Roberto sidelined

Both Kahn and Hitzfeld identified KSC as one of the toughest teams still due at the Allianz Arena this term. “It’ll be a very different game compared to Anderlecht,” admonished Hitzfeld, describing the promoted outfit as “a level stronger“ than the Belgian champions. “They’re on a roll. They’ve been sensational so far and would love to stay in the spotlight. That’s why they’re so dangerous.“

“We want to win the league, so we have to focus on the bread and butter straight away,” the coach continued. Hitzfeld is still without Zé Roberto (flu) and Mark van Bommel (suspended), while Martin Demichelis is rated doubtful after collecting a knock in Brussels. In any case, the General is certain to continue his current rotation policy.

Weakened KSC

KSC captain Mario Eggimann serves a ban, while injury accounts for Godfried Adoube. Andreas Görlitz, on loan to Karlsruhe from Bayern and contemplating a return to Munich this summer, is a definite starter. “What matters is that we play it our way and keep it tight. If we do, I’m not worried,” summarised Hamit Altintop.