Celtic spirit inspires Nuremberg for Bayern visit
Nuremberg coach Dieter Hecking has said his side must be inspired by Celtic's Champions League giant-killing of Barcelona when they host German league leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
"We need to do it like the Scots did, tight at the back and maybe we only need one or two balls to go in up front," said Hecking after Celtic pulled off a stunning 2-1 group stage win over Barcelona in Glasgow a fortnight ago.
The Nuremberg tie has an air of a David-Goliath confrontation about it.
While Bayern are seven-points clear at the top of the table, Nuremberg are 15th, just above the relegation places, and victory over their glamorous German neighbours would give a huge boost to moral.
With just two wins in their last 10 matches, Nuremberg have their work cut out in the 185th Bavarian derby as Bayern have won all five of their away games this season in the Bundesliga with a goal difference of 15-0.
"We don't have to cower, Bayern shouldn't just walk away with the points, they must be made to work for them," said Hecking.
"We don't want to just stand around our own penalty area, we want to look forwards for our opportunities."
Bayern have all three strikers in their squad pushing to play with Claudio Pizarro having scored five goals in two games last week, while Mario Mandzukic is also in form and Mario Gomez scored four goals in midweek on his return.
Having withdrawn from the Germany squad with illness, both midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos are expected to be fit for the trip to Nuremberg, while Javi Martinez may be rested after his friendly with Spain in Panama.
Second-placed Schalke 04 are at fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen with play-maker Lewis Holtby reported to have asked for a significant pay rise having received offers to play in the English Premier League.
"Bayer have a strong attacking team with good individual players, but we will focus on ourselves," said coach Hubb Stevens and general manager Horst Heldt wants to extend the contract of both Holtby and striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Stevens said he was glad Huntelaar spent the 90 minutes of Holland's goalless draw with Germany on the bench in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
"I can't say why Huntelaar didn't play on Wednesday, but I am just pleased that he didn't get injured."
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund host second-from-bottom Greuther Fuerth on Saturday, but coach Jurgen Klopp said his team know how hard they are to beat after needing extra-time to win last season's German Cup semifinal there.
"We only have to look back on the cup game, that was no walk in the park," said Klopp, who hopes to have midfielders Jakub Blaszczykowski and Sven Bender, plus defender Neven Subotic back.
Captain Sebastian Kehl looks set to miss out with a knee injury.
Third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt have the chance to get back to winning ways after their defeat at Bayern last weekend when they host bottom side Augsburg on Saturday.
Wolfsburg, 16th and amongst the relegation places, are at Hoffenheim on Sunday with ex-Bremen general manager Klaus Allofs now installed as sports director after 13 years at Werder.
Caretaker coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner is set to stay on as coach and Allofs has been tasked with keeping the 2009 champions up.