Bayern expect tough task for Stuttgart classic
Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has said the Bundesliga leaders can expect a tough battle at VfB Stuttgart on Sunday in the south German derby, despite heavy recent wins over the rivals.
Bayern hammered Stuttgart 6-1 in Munich in September's corresponding fixture and have won all of their last seven games against VfB, but Heynckes said games against their southern neighbours are always tough.
"It won't be a walk in the park. It's a classic and always emotionally charged," said Heynckes, who will take a full squad to Stuttgart, missing only long-term injury victim Holger Badstuber.
Bayern laboured to a 2-0 home win against bottom side Greuther Fuerth last Saturday, but remain nine points clear in the table and Heynckes said he expects his side to raise their game at Stuttgart's Mercedes Benz Arena.
"As our start to the year was missing some of it's shine, we have to, and we will, improve," added Heynckes, with Stuttgart 10th in the league.
Holland star Arjen Robben and Germany striker Mario Gomez are both expected to start on the bench with Thomas Mueller and Mario Madzukic keeping their places on the right-wing and striker respectively.
While Heynckes has said he is keeping an eye on second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and defending champions Borussia Dortmund, who are third, the challenge is to "maintain our level, if we do that we will achieve our goal of being German champions".
Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia has insisted there is no panic at the prospect of facing Munich.
"Bayern Munich are one of the best teams in the world, it will be a mammoth task," he said.
"We have to respect them, but we don't have to fear them."
Having signed VfL Wolfsburg defender Felipe Lopes and Manchester United striker Federico Macheda on loan, Labbadia was non-committal whether Macheda would start against Bayern.
"The last few days have taken their toll on him, he needs to settle in," said Labbadia.
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