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Bayern out to floor Fortuna before Arsenal clash

Updated 09 Mar 2013 02:16:55

Bayern out to floor Fortuna before Arsenal clash

Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic says the Bavarian giants are aiming to floor minnows Fortuna Duesseldorf in the Bundesliga to prepare for next week's Champions League visit of Arsenal.

With a 17-point lead at the top of the table, and 10 league games left this season, Bayern are running away with this season's Bundesliga title, but aim to add to their 10-match winning streak at home to Fortuna, who are 12th.

Bayern are eager to maintain their iron grip on the league before hosting Arsenal in Munich next Wednesday in the Champions League last 16, second leg tie holding a 3-1 lead.

Fortuna's last victory over Bayern in the Bundesliga was back in April 1991 and Munich have won all of their last three meetings against them without conceding a goal.

Nevertheless, Mandzukic has said the guests will receive maximum respect come Saturday.

"We respect Duesseldorf. They need points, and every team always gives everything against Bayern," said the Croatia striker, who has 15 Bundesliga goals this season.

"But we're ready for them. We're at home and want to maintain our winning run, preferably with another clean sheet. It's also an important match with regard to next Wednesday.

"A lot of people think we're already through to the next round (of the Champions League), but anything can happen in football.

"Provided we play the way we did in London we need have no worries. But if we concede an early goal, it could be dangerous."

Bayern stars Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger trained on Thursday, having shaken off knocks, while Mario Gomez, Mandzukic's main rival for the striker berth, broke off training with a minor hamstring twinge.

Having already booked their Champions League quarter-final berth with a midweek win over Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Dortmund travel 40km east to face neighbours and rivals Schalke 04.

Schalke have won only one of their last five Bundesliga games against Dortmund, but the guests, who are second in the table, will want to avenge their 2-1 defeat at Borussia's Signal Iduna Park last October.

Both captain Sebastian Kehl (ribs) and fellow defensive midfielder Sven Bender (ankle) face a race to be fit having played in the 3-0 win over Donetsk, which sealed a 5-2 victory on aggregate.

Schalke, who face Galatasaray in the Champions League on Tuesday in Gelsenkirchen after a 2-2 draw in Istanbul, have picked up form after back-to-back wins and are up to sixth in the table.

Rising star Julian Draxler, 19, is set to become the youngest player in Bundesliga history to make 100 league appearances, but has never tasted victory over Dortmund, having missed October's win with a broken arm.

Schalke's United States' midfielder Jermaine Jones is suspended for the tie, while Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has scored in each of his last six Bundesliga games.

He could equal the club record set by Germany striker Timo Konietzka in 1964/65, who scored in seven consecutive Bundesliga games for Dortmund.

Bottom side Fuerth host Hoffenheim, who are just one place above them, in a basement battle with the hosts desperate to avoid setting a new Bundesliga record of failing to win any of their first 13 home games.

Fuerth have the worst home record in the top flight with four points from twelve home games, while Hoffenheim have the worst away record with four points from eleven matches.

Saturday

Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf, Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund, Freiburg v VfL Wolfsburg, Mainz 05 v Bayer Leverkusen, Greuther Fuerth v Hoffenheim, Borussia M'gladbach v Werder Bremen

Sunday

Hanover 96 v Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart v Hamburg


AFP

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