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Football | Germany

Bayern look to end year on a high



Bayern Munich will be looking to win their final league match of 2012 against Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday to retain their iron grip on the Bundesliga.

With a commanding 11-point lead at the top of the table, Bayern are home to 'Gladbach having targeted the Bundesliga as they look to end their three-year wait for titles next May.

Dominant in the Bundesliga at the halfway point, in the last 16 of the German Cup and having reached the knock-out phase of the Uefa Champions League, Bayern are still going strong in all three competitions.

German international striker Mario Gomez has said he is happy to continue his spell on the bench, providing Bayern finish up with a few more trophies in the cabinet.

Gomez has lost his place to Mario Manduzkic, who has nine goals in 14 games, after missing three months following ankle surgery, but has still managed two league goals in four games after coming on as a substitute.

"I really only have one big objective and that's winning the Bundesliga title. Everything else is less important to me," Gomez told German daily Bild. "I will be more than happy if I have to come off the bench 10 more times or so this season as long as we end up winning the league title.

"It's too soon to congratulate us with the title, though. We know that we have to remain focused during the second half of the season. We can only beat ourselves if we manage to do just that."

Gomez has already won two German league titles, with Stuttgart in 2007 and with Bayern in 2010.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and striker Claudio Pizarro both trained on Tuesday having shaken off an upset stomach and flu respectively and are fit to face 'Gladbach.

Defensive midfielder Javi Martinez is expected to be fit after a collision in training with Jerome Boateng on Tuesday, but chief medical officer Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt gave him the all-clear.

Challengers seek momentum

Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Hannover last weekend, need a home win over Hamburg on Saturday to try and exert some pressure on Bayern.

Third-placed Borussia Dortmund will have defender Marcel Schmelzer in their team for their trip to face strugglers Hoffenheim on Sunday.

On Monday, the sports court of the German Football Federation dropped its investigation and lifted the automatic suspension on him after he was shown a red card in the 3-2 defeat against Wolfsburg last Saturday.

The left-back was shown a red for an alleged handball on the line in the 35th minute while Wolfsburg were awarded a penalty, but television replays, however, showed the 24-year-old had blocked the ball with the knee.

After coach Markus Babbel was sacked by Hoffenheim, caretaker coach Frank Kramer looks to break the five-match losing streak with his team third from bottom and amongst the relegation places.

Friday

Bayern Munich v Borussia M'gladbach

Saturday

Bayer Leverkusen v Hamburg

VfL Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt

Mainz 05 v VfB Stuttgart

Greuther Furth v Augsburg

Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hannover 96

Schalke 04 v Freiburg

Sunday

Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund

Werder Bremen v Nuremberg

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