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Showdown for second

Bayern vow full power for 90 minutes

A roller-coaster season at Bayern comes to a climax on Saturday with the crucial home clash against VfB Stuttgart (Live in English from 3.15 pm CET on Web Radio). It is a must-win fixture for the home side, as only victory would guarantee a berth in the Champions League group phase, and also preserve the champions’ slender chance of retaining the Bundesliga crown.

“It’s a final, for us and for Stuttgart,” acknowledged Philipp Lahm, as the two biggest clubs in the south of Germany prepare to do battle in front of a sell-out Allianz Arena crowd. It is hard to imagine a domestic league fixture with more at stake for the rival teams, as both FCB and VfB can finish anywhere from first to fourth. Indeed, the losers are in grave danger of missing out on next term’s Champions League. “None of us wants to play in the UEFA Cup,” continued Lahm, “all the players are even more focused than normal, because so much is at stake. We’re ready to give it everything for 90 minutes.”

“We have only one target, which is to win the game,” emphasised caretaker coach Jupp Heynckes, determined to round off his five-match return to the FCB dugout with the second place the club craves. Heynckes is expecting “a really good game of football” between two attacking teams. VfB are undefeated in their last nine outings, “and they’re class,” Heynckes observed. “But we’re at home. And we’re Bayern Munich.”