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Football | Germany

Bayern now set sights on Bremen



Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf was among the observers in Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Tuesday to see Bayern Munich give another demonstration of strength.

Bayern's classy 3-1 victory over Arsenal must have left him wondering how his side, lying 11th in the table, can get anything out of their trip to Munich's Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Bayern, who have won all five of their league games without conceding a goal since the start of the year, are looking to extend their 15-point lead at the top in what will be Jupp Heynckes's 1 000th Bundesliga game as player and coach.

"It's a staggering number, and shows how many years have gone by," he told the club's website.

"I would never have dreamed of it as a player. It's enough material to write more than one book, although obviously, that's not something I'm going to do."

Heynckes has promised a "light rotation" with a view to an upcoming German cup quarterfinal clash with Borussia Dortmund.

That could mean a start for striker Mario Gomez and Dutch winger Arjen Robben instead of the suspended Franck Ribery.

Bayern are still basking in the praise for their performance in London, but Heynckes said his focus was now on Bremen.

And giving some insight on the secret behind Bayern's current form, Heynckes said "working as a collective" was the key for modern football.

"That's where we're ahead of many teams. Our transitions from attack to defence were perfect, and we have so much creativity and quality up front, we can always settle a game in our favour," he said.

"But the really decisive factor is keeping it tight at the back, compressing the play, and staying close to the man on the ball. These are the hallmarks of my team at the moment."

Schaaf meanwhile still has major doubts on the ailing midfielder Aaron Hunt and central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos who by Wednesday had been unable to train after bouts of flu.

"Aaron was able to at least run a little bit. Pappas is not far enough just yet," Schaaf said.

"We hope that Aaron can train with the team again tomorrow (Thursday). But I would say that neither will be ready for the Munich match."

Schaaf meanwhile will be hoping striker Nils Petersen - on loan from Bayern - can continue a run of good form which has seen him score four goals in his last three games.

Another on-form player returning to his former club is Dortmund's Marco Reus, who goes back to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday as the reigning champions aim to defend second place.

Reus scored all three goals in Saturday's 3-0 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt, and also scored a brace in Dortmund's 5-0 hammering of Moenchengladbach when the sides met earlier in the season.

"Gladbach enabled me to be where I am now. It will always be a special club for me," the 23-year-old Germany international said.

Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen are also in action Sunday, with a trip to basement side Greuther Fuerth who Wednesday dismissed coach Mike Bueskens.

Also on Saturday, sixth-placed SV Hamburg visit Hanover, while Schalke are hoping a 1-1 draw at Galatasary in the Champions League Wednesday has helped them turn the corner after just one win in 13 competitive game ahead of the visit of Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Second-last Augsburg host third-last Hoffenheim in a relegation battle, while Mainz take on Wolfsburg, and VfB Stuttgart entertain Nuremberg.

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