High-flying Bayern wary of Frankfurt
Coach Jupp Heynckes has said Bayern Munich can expect a tough time against third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday when the Bundesliga leaders get back to domestic business.
Fresh from their midweek Champions League hammering of French side Lille in a 6-1 rout at the Allianz Arena, Heynckes knows Bayern can expect a dog-fight against Frankfurt, who have proved this season's surprise packages.
"We had a deluge of chances in the first-half (against Lille), but the opponent was not exactly first class. It will be much harder against Frankfurt on Saturday," said Heynckes with his team seven-points clear at the top.
Under coach Armin Veh, who won the 2007 Bundesliga title with Stuttgart, Frankfurt have won six of their 10 games so far this season on their return to the top-tier, all achieved on a modest budget.
"(Spain's Javi) Martinez cost (Bayern) €40 million, plus €10 million for his salary, with this €50 million for one Bayern player, we could finance the whole squad for two years," revealed Veh.
"This shows that we aren't equals. Our key games each season are against rivals like Augsburg and Mainz. Our rivals are not Bayern or Schalke."
With Germany's Mario Gomez recovering from injury and Croatia's Mario Mandzukic missing the Lille win with 'flu, 34-year-old third-choice striker Claudio Pizarro is pushing for a place with five goals in his last two games.
The Peru star scored a hat-trick in just 15 minutes against Lille to stake his claim for selection.
Frankfurt have not won in Munich since November 2000, but captain Alexander Meier, their top scorer with seven goals this season, says priority is on collecting enough points to stay in the league.
"The important thing is the league. We want to collect 40 points as quickly as possible. Everything else does not matter," he said, with Frankfurt having beaten Leverkusen, Hamburg and Hanover this season and held Dortmund to a 3-3 draw.
Fresh from their 2-2 Champions League draw with Arsenal in mid-week, second-placed Schalke 04 host Werder Bremen without Japan right-back Atsuto Uchida and midfielder Marco Hoeger after they picked up injuries.
Unbeaten in their last three games, Bremen have climbed to seventh in the table, but chairman Klaus Allofs admits they face a stern test.
"Despite (Spain star) Raul leaving the club in the summer, Schalke have not got any weaker," he said.
Having only been denied a victory at Real Madrid on Wednesday by a late goal, Dortmund return to league action at bottom side Augsburg on Saturday needing a win to move up from fifth as they lag 11 points behind Bayern.
"We are eager to gather points in Augsburg, but we don't underestimate our opponents," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp with his side unbeaten in their last five games.
"Tuesday showed us how much fun football can be, when the whole team invests in the performance."
Mainz 05 v Nuremberg
Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt
Schalke 04 v Werder Bremen
Freiburg v Hamburg
Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund
Fortuna Duesseldorf v Hoffenheim
VfL Wolfsburg v Bayer Leverkusen
VfB Stuttgart v Hannover 96
Greuther Fuerth v Borussia M'gladbach