Created on 07-11-2008 at 00:00 AM
Luca Toni and potentially also Philipp Lahm will feature when Bayern seek to extend their winning streak and continue their drive back towards the top of the Bundesliga away to title rivals Schalke 04 on Sunday. “Luca is fit to play. Hopefully, he’ll be hungry for goals too,” commented Bayern boss Jürgen Klinsmann on Friday. The 44-year-old said the league’s leading scorer last term was “fit enough” to start the match in Gelsenkirchen despite missing the last three matches with injury.
Germany star Lahm could also return against the Royal Blues after a two-and-a-half week lay-off. “Philipp is back in training. We’ll wait and see how he feels on Saturday, and then we’ll decide whether to take him with us to Schalke,” Klinsmann said. Lahm, who resumed the squad programme on Friday, injured a foot in the 3-0 Champions League home win over Fiorentina.
Aiming for the top
“We’re determined to climb higher in the table before Christmas, and we can take a big step towards that on Sunday,” Klinsmann advised. The importance of the fixture has not been lost on the players. “I rate Sunday’s match our most difficult before the winter break,” said defender Martin Demichelis, in ebullient mood following a conversation with new Argentina boss Diego Maradona: “If we win up there, we have a good chance of topping the table at the halfway point.“
On a less positive note, Bastian Schweinsteiger remains doubtful for the match at the Veltins Arena. The Germany midfielder came away from Wednesday’s 1-1 draw in Florence with a bruised shin and a sizeable cut on the leg. “We’re confident, but we’ll listen to what the doc has to say on Saturday,” Klinsmann remarked.
The Bayern coach hopes his men finally show greater consistency when they take on their arch-rivals from the Ruhr Valley, noting that his team - “not always, but a couple of times too often“ - had only settled to the task at hand after half-time recently. Toni will be expected to help remedy matters in Gelsenkirchen, where he is slated to start. “The hierarchy is clear,” said Klinsmann regarding the battle for places up front.