Bayern posed to become Bundesliga champions
AFP · 2 May 2008, 14:05
Published: 02 May 2008 14:05 GMT+02:00
It should all be over by Sunday evening for the Bavarian club - having led the league from the start of the season. With a 12-point lead going into this weekend's league programme, Bayern are all set to be crowned German champions for the 21st time at VfL Wolfburg on Sunday with three games remaining before the last match on May 17.
With precious little time to recover from Thursday night's UEFA Cup semifinal drubbing in St Petersburg, Bayern will be using the full strength of their squad with two important games so close together.
But for Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath, who was sacked by Bayern in February 2007, it would be a bitter pill to watch his former club lift the title.
"We got one point against Leverkusen recently and we want to celebrate a further success on Sunday against Munich with three points," said the 54-year-old with some confidence.
But whether his side have improved enough since they lost 2-1 to Bayern at the Allianz Arena last November remains to be seen.
Now only a mathematical miracle would see Werder Bremen or Schalke 04 make up the 12 point gap to overhaul Bayern at the top of the table. If both sides lose or draw this weekend, the title goes to Munich.
As the season draws to a close, unusual results can be expected with sides desperate for points - and league survival - beating sides at the higher end of the table.
Bremen face a challenge at Energie Cottbus, who are five points away from the relegation zone, but are still far from guaranteed survival. Bremen's playmaker Diego was unable to train with the rest of the team on Wednesday with a thigh injury.
"It's nothing too severe, he should be OK for the weekend," said Werder coach Thomas Schaaf, who is also waiting on the fitness of club captain Frank Baumann who has struggled with an ankle injury.
Likewise, Schalke can take nothing for granted against Hanover 96, but they expect to have Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi fit after he shook off a leg injury earlier in the week. Caretaker coach Mike Bueskens was quick to give the all-clear for Saturday's visit of Hannover 96. "Kevin took a blow to the leg in Hamburg", he said. "But there's no cause for concern."
Bremen and Schalke enjoy a six-point gap over nearest rivals Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg and VfB Stuttgart with all three competing for the two UEFA Cup places left.
Hamburg are struggling on and off the pitch with no successor named to replace coach Huub Stevens, while they have failed to win any of their last six games. They also have a tough assignment at Hansa Rostock who are second from bottom of the table and desperately need the points.
Defending champions VfB Stuttgart are desperate for a UEFA Cup spot and are up against mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt while Bayer Leverkusen can expect a tough time at bottom side Duisburg on Sunday.
Third from bottom Nuremberg can get their weekend off to a good start if they can take three points from Borussia Dortmund on Friday night.
Hovering just about the relegation zone, Arminia Bielefeld need to beat mid-table VfL Bochum to ease their relegation worries on Saturday. While mid-table Hertha Berlin and Karlsruhe are now merely playing for pride when they clash on Saturday.