New-boys Fuerth out to earn respect
Bundesliga new boys Greuther Fuerth make their German league debut against giants Bayern Munich on Saturday with their captain Mergim Mavraj demanding his team earn respect.
"We are playing at home against a supposedly superior opponent," he told the Nuremberg Nachrichten newspaper.
"In a game like this, survival instincts are aroused because you defend yourself with all you have.
"Against Bayern, everyone knows what lies ahead.
"The hurdles of facing Bayern and the Bundesliga we can take together."
Having built a new stand at their Trolli Arena stadium, which now holds 18 500 spectators, the atmosphere promises to be electric after Fuerth spent the last 15 years in the second division, missing out on promotion eight times.
Their Albanian captain Mavraj says all he wants is for his team to finish against Bayern with their heads held high.
"You don't need respect against an opponent with the ball at your feet," said the 26-year-old.
"Of course, you have to respect the achievements of Bayern Munich.
"But in the game itself, I want to achieve the point that Bayern respect us more after the match than they did before."
Fuerth have their work cut out on their debut season in Germany's top flight.
Canadian striker Olivier Occean, who scored 17 goals in 33 games last season, has left the north Bavarian club for newly-promoted Eintracht Frankfurt.
Senegal's Djiby Fall is expected to lead the attack having been signed from Belgian side KSC Lokeren OV.
Bayern arrive in Fuerth with a host of star names such as Dutch winger Arjen Robben, plus new signings Xherdan Shaqiri and Dante, while Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will start on the bench.
Fuerth coach Mike Bueskens has no such star player on his bench, but having won the second division last season, Bueskens now wants Fuerth to show they are worthy of their place among Germany's top 18 clubs.
"We were always being made out as the side who would never make it when it came down to it," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, while admitting he has struggled to sleep this week with nervous excitement.
"Promotion has liberated Fuerth's soul. People used to say always that we could not do it, we did not want to do it and you would always get laughed at."
Bayern will be missing fever-victim Franck Ribery, but Bueskens said their their star-studded side can expect a warm welcome.
"The first Bundesliga game in the club's history against Germany's record champions - that is something special for this club and for this city," said the former Schalke 04 coach.