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Ribery feverish, Bayerns Mueller wary of Fuerth
Published : 23 Aug 2012 18:17:06
Bayern Munich midfielder Thomas Mueller admits he is wary of his team's opening match of the Bundesliga season, as they prepare to travel to top-flight debutants Greuther Fuerth on Saturday.
Bavarian outfit Fuerth won the second division title last season and will play in Germany's top tier for the first time in their history.
Glamour club Bayern have been handed the unenviable task of playing their first game at their regional neighbours in what promises to be an emotional match when the hosts make their Bundesliga entrance.
"It will be a tough game," said Germany's Mueller ahead of the encounter at Fuerth's 18,500-capacity Trolli-Arena.
"Fuerth have a certain euphoria that they have taken from their rise and will do everything in their own stadium to keep a clean sheet. They will be driven and will run aggressively. They will throw everything at us, which is always unpleasant.
"They will get in our faces and will demand plenty from us."
Bayern's main fitness concern ahead of Saturday's opener is French midfielder Franck Ribery who is suffering from a fever having come off at half-time in Monday's 4-0 German Cup first-round win at second division Jahn Regensburg.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is optimistic the team can compensate for a possible loss of Ribery.
"We have strengthened our squad well," he said. "The league starts now and there are no more excuses."
Bayern's defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League final in May means they have gone two years without winning a major trophy and they are desperate to break Borussia Dortmund's current domination of the Bundesliga.
Munich invested over the summer, snapping up Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic from Wolfsburg for 13 million euros ($16.3 million), while Peru striker Claudio Pizarro was brought from Werder Bremen on a free transfer.
Brazilian centre-half Dante has arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach, while Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri was recruited from FC Basel.
With Germany striker Mario Gomez, who scored 41 goals in 52 games last season, sidelined for at least the next few weeks following ankle surgery, Mandzukic and Pizarro are battling for the lone striker's berth.