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Still fuming

Bayern poised for decisive title thrust

Bayern will hope to feed off their lingering anger and irritation at Getafe’s last-minute strike in the 1-1 UEFA Cup draw last Thursday when the men in red turn their attention back to the Bundesliga at home to VfL Bochum on Sunday (Live in English from 4.45 pm on Web Radio). “We’re looking forward to the match, because we owe the crowd something,” Ottmar Hitzfeld commented.

“I hope Bochum feel the force of our pent-up frustration,” the Bayern coach continued. “We have to invest everything we’ve got. This is not the time to let up, even though we already have a nice cushion. We could set off for Getafe on a high,” observed Marcell Jansen, with an eye on next Thursday’s return leg in the Madrid suburbs.

Aiming for two home wins

Before Hitzfeld and his troops go in search of a UEFA Cup semi-final berth, they could take a decisive step towards a 21st German league title on Sunday. Saturday’s results included a 1-0 defeat for Hamburg in Stuttgart, so victory over Bochum would send Bayern nine points clear of new second-placed team Schalke 04, 1-0 winners at home to Rostock.

“The important thing is to win our consecutive home games against Bochum and Dortmund. It would make it very tough for our rivals, because the games are running out,” commented chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, describing Hamburg’s defeat as “great news for us." Hitzfeld agreed with the club chief. “We need to make the most of back-to-back home games and increase our lead at the top.”

VfL in good form

However, Sunday’s match will be anything but a walkover. Eleventh-placed Bochum are undefeated in six matches and have only lost once since the winter break. “Bochum have done exceptionally well so far,” acknowledged Hitzfeld. “Everyone thinks we only have to turn up and collect the points, but it won’t be that easy,” Mark van Bommel warned.

The men from the Ruhr valley have amassed a creditable 33 points, a full ten clear of the drop zone, and will be under no pressure at the Allianz Arena. “It’s a good feeling coming to Munich knowing you don’t need the points,” remarked VfL striker Benjamin Auer, although that did not mean his side would surrender without a fight. “Obviously, it would be great to take a point or three off Bayern.“

Hitzfeld focusing on UEFA Cup

Hitzfeld demanded “concentration and desire” from his team, calling for “a win to give us breathing space in the Bundesliga. I’m convinced we’ll come though in the UEFA Cup, so we’ll still have a couple of demanding games in Europe.“ Matches against Bochum, Getafe and Dortmund promise a tense and exciting week at the club.