23.11.2006: Bundesliga: Hamburg face-off with Bayern

German Football
By German Football November 25, 2006 08:13

23.11.2006: Bundesliga: Hamburg face-off with Bayern

Bayern Munich travel to Hamburg SV on Saturday for their Bundesliga match this weekend. The match offers Hamburg coach Thomas Doll a final chance to spark a revival at the sorry northern club.

Hamburg’s 3-1 defeat away to Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday left them bottom of their group and without a point from the five matches played so far. Their Bundesliga form has been just as bad with 13 games played. They are languishing second from bottom with just one win, and a total of 11 points.

Doll has been assured that his job is safe for the time being but the patience of the club might be running out soon.

If Saturday’s game is to spark the start of a fightback rather than the end for their coach, the team will have to recapture the spirit that carried them so well just last season. There were some signs of that in the defeat against Arsenal as the Germans took the lead with a great strike from Rafael van der Vaart and scrapped hard throughout the game.

‘Our only chance is to pick ourselves up and get back in there fighting,’ goalkeeper Stefan Waechter said after the latest Champions League disappointment. ‘That way I know we will win again, although I’m not sure when that will be.’

Hamburg may see some hope from Bayern Munich’s less than convincing start to their title defence this season. The Bavarians have lost three away games in the Bundesliga already. A 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart last weekend still left them three points behind leaders Schalke 04 in fourth place.

Bayern, of course, have had a much easier time in Europe. They are clear at the top of Group B after a 2-2 draw away to Spartak Moscow on Wednesday and their place in the knock-out phase is secured. Still, Hamburg will view the extra day they have had to prepare as an advantage for them as they seek to climb out of the relegation zone.

Schalke have the chance to extend their lead to five points, at least for a day, when they play at home to neighbours Bochum on Friday. Schalke have won three in a row since their 2-2 draw with Bayern, scoring 10 goals in the process.

They should be strengthened by the return from injury of Lincoln, the Brazilian playmaker, and Bochum, in 16th place, are likely to struggle against them.

VfB Stuttgart should be confident of bouncing back from their defeat against Bayern last week by beating Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday.

Gladbach’s 1-0 defeat by Hanover 96 last weekend was their sixth match without a win in the Bundesliga.

Werder Bremen have slipped to second place, two points behind Schalke, after managing just a point from their last two matches.

They pulled off an outstanding 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday, though, and if they find anything like the same form they should get back on track at home to Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.

German Football
By German Football November 25, 2006 08:13
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