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Southern showdown

FCB primed for 'tough encounter' in Stuttgart

Two wins on the spin have lifted Bayern from eighth to fifth in the Bundesliga standings, and Eintracht Frankfurt were dumped out of the DFB Cup 4-0 in midweek, so Munich travel to south German rivals VfB Stuttgart on Saturday (Live in English from 3.15 pm on Web Radio) in good spirits. “We’re confident. The 4-0 win was the best display since I got here,” said Louis van Gaal: “And if we win our next two games, we’ll be first or second.”

Three points are the target in Stuttgart, where VfB are a club in crisis. Three consecutive defeats have seen them slide to 14th in the table, level on points with second-from-bottom Bochum. The Swabians have lost their last five in all competitions, including a 1-0 cup exit to second division Greuther Fürth last Tuesday.

However, VfB are nothing if not unpredictable. Mario Gomez fears that a “trick or treat” team lies in wait. Van Gaal turned to a Dutch proverb by way of warning: “A cat in a tight space does things differently.” Saturday’s opponents are better than their place in the table suggests, the boss continued. “I think Stuttgart are a good team with quality individuals.”