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The time has come

Champions fired up for Hamburg opener

In the three years since Bayern moved to the Allianz Arena, the Bavarians have lost just three of their 51 home Bundesliga fixtures. One club bears most responsibility for the blemishes on FCB’s otherwise near-invincibility, and that club is Hamburger SV, who have won two and drawn one of their three league visits. The same HSV are in Munich on Friday for the official opening fixture of the 46th Bundesliga season (live in English from 8.15 pm on Web radio).

“It’s high time we brought their run to an end,” declared Miroslav Klose as the champions go in search of a first victory against Hamburg at the Allianz Arena. Bayern’s overall recent record against the northerners could do with a polish: FCB have won only one of their last six meetings with HSV, and both last season’s fixtures ended in draws. “We have to change this,” agreed Jürgen Klinsmann ahead of his first top flight game as a coach. As a player, he never lost at home to HSV.

Just 90 days after hoisting the championship shield to an adoring crowd at a victory parade in central Munich, Bayern and their new boss are the focus of intense interest and speculation. Klinsmann himself is revelling in the situation. “We’re really looking forward to the match and the new season,” he said. The former Germany coach took the helm in Munich some seven weeks ago, a period he rates as “very positive. The work is hugely enjoyable. Now we want to harvest the first fruits of our labours.“

Klinsmann and his men have been hard at work in recent days ironing out the defensive errors which caused last weekend’s DFB Cup first round tie in Erfurt to evolve into a knife-edge affair. “We can’t be conceding three goals against Erfurt. That has to stop,” remarked Philipp Lahm. It was still too early to expect the Euro 2008 stars to be running at 100 percent, Klinsmann repeated, “but we’ll see more and more results of our work with every passing week.“