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Football | Germany

Bayern aim to turn screw before break



Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are hoping to take their Champions League form into the weekend's Bundesliga action where they will defend an eight-point lead at the top of the table.

The Bayern management, boosted by the convincing 4-1 win over BATE Borisov, regard Saturday's trip to Augsburg as the first of three must-win matches before the two-week winter break.

"We are still under pressure," said Munich's director of sport Matthias Sammer.

"We don't want to give up anything else until Christmas. We don't want to give away any of the bonus that we have given ourselves."

"We want to keep the lead in the Bundesliga and if possible increase it," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.

Bayern's final Bundesliga match of 2012 is against Borussia Moenchengladbach, and then Jupp Heynckes' team face Augsburg again in the German Cup Round of 16 on December 18.

"We also want to be in the German Cup next year as well," said Lahm about Bayern's third and final self-determined must-win game of the calendar year.

Sammer said he doesn't want to talk about being satisfied or anything until after those three contests, adding: "Then all will be good."

Behind Bayern in the league come Bayer Leverkusen with in third, 11 points behind, two-time reigning champions Borussia Dortmund, rated by most observers as the one team that can overtake Munich for the title.

Dortmund want to put aside their impressive Champions League performance - winning a difficult group against Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax - and concentrate on the Bundesliga, where they host VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.

"It's absolutely extraordinary what the team has done internationally, but now it's time to forget about the Champions League. We cannot worry about it again until the draw on December 20," said Dortmund director Hans-Joachim Watzke.

"Starting immediately our focus must be on the two German competitions."

Watzke wants to see his team beat Wolfsburg at home and Hoffenheim on the road in the league to if possible reclaim second spot and then advance in the German Cup against Hanover 96 as well.

Leverkusen will enter their match Sunday at Hanover knowing what Bayern and Dortmund did on Saturday. But Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia is not thinking about the title in his first season at the helm.

"We are happy about second place right now, but we haven't achieved anything yet. The road ahead of us is very long. And we still have to develop in many areas - also mentally," said Hyppia.

"But we have already won games which Bayer Leverkusen would usually lose."

Schalke 04 sit fourth in the table, two points behind Dortmund and just one point ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt.

But Huub Stevens' Schalke team heads to VfB Stuttgart having gone winless in their last four Bundesliga matches.

One sign of a possible trend in the other direction was Schalke drawing at Montpellier to take first place in their Champions League group.

"That will give us some momentum," said Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes.

On Friday Frank Kramer makes his debut as interim head coach for Hoffenheim after Markus Babbel was sacked.

Hoffenheim are 16th in the league and could definitely use the points at Hamburg.

The other Saturday fixtures see Nuremberg hosting Fortuna Dusseldorf, Freiburg welcoming Greuther Fuerth and Werder Bremen playing at Frankfurt.

The other Sunday match has Borussia Munchengladbach playing at home against Mainz 05.

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