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Eying up first place

Can Bayern go top on Saturday?

Those who study the form and fixtures might be tempted to wager on a good weekend ahead for Bayern. On Matchday 13, when the champions travel to Borussia Mönchengladbach, six of the Bundesliga’s top seven face off elsewhere: leaders Bayer Leverkusen entertain sixth-placed Schalke 04, surprise package TSG Hoffenheim in second are at home to seventh-placed VfL Wolfsburg, while Hertha BSC Berlin (fifth) host Hamburger SV (fourth). Depending on the results from around the grounds, Bayern could go top of the pile for the first time this term at around 5.20 pm on Saturday.

“We always wanted to go top, and we obviously still want that,” Miroslav Klose said on Thursday. The double winners in third are a point behind leading duo Leverkusen and Hoffenheim, who both dropped valuable points last weekend. “But we have to focus on ourselves,” warned Klose, “if we win in Gladbach, then it’s none of our business how the others get on.”

Happy memories

Riding high on the back of five consecutive wins, FCB are determined to maintain their winning streak away to their great rivals of the 1970s. “We’re going there intending to win,” announced Klose, who will partner fit-again Luca Toni up front. “I wasn’t at my best against Schalke. I never really got into the game and I was very dissatisfied,” revealed the Germany international, keen to make amends in front of a capacity crowd at Borussia Park.

Toni fared much better on his return after bruised ribs. “The ten day lay-off did me good, switching off a little definitely helped. I didn’t get much of a holiday after Euro 2008,” last year’s leading scorer explained. The Toni/Klose combo has happy memories of Monchengladbach: the Italian scored twice and the German once as Bayern defeated the then second division leaders 3-1 in the second round of the cup last season.

Toni hungry for goals

“I’d like a few more goals before Christmas. I don’t like having so many names in front of me in the scoring chart. I’m not used to it,” the lanky Italian grumbled. “Normally I’m at the top and being chased by the rest, but I’m in the role of hunter this time, although that just makes me even more determined,” Toni declared.

New Gladbach coach Hans Meyer would probably have preferred not to hear that. “It’s a shame we didn’t meet Bayern earlier, when they were having a patchy phase. They’ve come together as a team now. They’ve had the look of champions away from home recently,” the respected 66-year-old mused.