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Title showdown

Make-or-break meeting with Magath’s Schalke

News conferences featuring Louis van Gaal involve a little ritual whereby the coach receives a sweetened cappuccino before taking the first question. On Good Friday, the most solemn Christian festival, the Dutchman had to go without, as the member of staff responsible had the day off. “What a shame. I was really looking forward to my coffee,” said Van Gaal. However, what the boss really thirsts after right now is top spot in the table.

Last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at home to Stuttgart cost Bayern the lead in the standings. Munich can return to first place on Saturday (Live in English from 3.15 pm CET on Web Radio) with a win away to Schalke 04, who lead the league by two points from Bayern. “We want to win and go back to the top,” declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “That’s our goal,” confirmed Van Gaal.

Just days after a famous 2-1 victory over Manchester United, Bayern travel to Schalke “with a little wind in our sails,” Rummenigge remarked. Just ten days ago, the men from Munich travelled to the same ground and won their DFB Cup semi-final meeting with Schalke 1-0 after extra-time. “As I said about that game, it was ‘gladioli or death’. It's the same again tomorrow,” Van Gaal quipped.