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Wolfsburg face tough task against in-form Bayern

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Updated 27 Sep 2013 00:31:53

Wolfsburg face tough task against in-form Bayern

VfL Wolfsburg admit they face an uphill task in their bid to try and stop Bayern Munich's march to the top of the Bundesliga table on Saturday.

Bayern are on a 31-match unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga and last tasted defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen in October 2012.

Pep Guardiola's side go into the weekend's matches in second place in the table, trailing leaders Borussia Dortmund on goals scored before facing the Wolves at the Allianz Arena.

Having blitzed Schalke 4-0 in Gelsenkirchen last Saturday in the league and routed Hanover 96 4-1 in the German Cup on Wednesday, Bayern are showing signs of further progress under Guardiola since he succeeded Jupp Heynckes as head coach in June.

Bayern saw off Hanover with a side featuring the likes of Diego Contento, Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel van Buyten and Claudio Pizarro as Guardiola rotated his squad before Saturday's visit of the Wolves and next Wednesday's Champions League clash away to Manchester City.

However, the reigning European champions want more silverware and are endlessly looking for ways to improve, so there was a little frustration with the nature of Wednesday's performance.

"We shifted down a gear after going 2-0 up and Hanover were immediately right back in the game, we can't let that happen again," said Thomas Mueller, who scored twice in the German Cup second-round win.

In contrast, Wolfsburg team manager Mike Schuessler admitted he "didn't find many weaknesses" after watching Guardiola's Bayern, while director of sport Klaus Allofs said: "We'll need a good performance to get a result there."

Ex-Bayern midfielder Luiz Gustavo will be back in the Wolfsburg side after serving a one-match ban while another former Munich star, Ivica Olic, should be able to play despite carrying an ankle injury and Brazilian midfielder Diego should be fit too.

Bayern have no new injury concerns with Spain midfielders Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara working their way back to fitness after minor operations.

Elsewhere, league leaders Dortmund host Freiburg on Saturday with a question mark over left-back Marcel Schmelzer after the Germany defender aggravated a thigh injury in the 2-0 German Cup win over second-division 1860 Munich.

Schmelzer is back in training, "but whether that is enough for Saturday, we'll have to see," said coach Jurgen Klopp, whose team face Marseille in the Champions League next Tuesday.

Dortmund are definitely without right-back Lukasz Piszczek, who is recovering from hip and groin surgery, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who has a back injury, and captain Sebastian Kehl, who has torn ankle ligaments.

Dortmund dropped their first points of the season in last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Nuremberg, while Freiburg have yet to win a match this season after three draws and three defeats.

Bayer Leverkusen boss Sami Hyypia has said there will be changes to his team on Saturday at fourth-place Hanover 96 ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash at home to Spain's Real Sociedad.

However, Australia's Robbie Kruse is looking to make his second start for the club after netting twice in last Saturday's 4-1 rout of Mainz.

Ex-Holland coach Bert van Marwijk has taken charge at struggling Hamburg, and the Hanseatic club are looking for only their second win of the season as they go to Eintracht Frankfurt.

HSV are already in the relegation zone after a disastrous start to the season and the 61-year-old van Marwijk was named as Thorsten Fink's successor on Monday after signing a two-year deal worth 1.4 million euros ($1.9 million) a year.

"My mission is to look at the structures in place and clarify the style of play," said Van Marwijk, who inherits a side who have been routed 5-1 and 6-2 by Hoffenheim and Dortmund respectively this season.

"We have to leave the bottom of the table as quickly as possible."

Fixtures (kick-offs 1330 GMT unless stated)

Friday

Augsburg v Borussia Moenchengladbach (1830 GMT)

Saturday

Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg, Bayern Munich v VfL Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen v Hanover 96, Hoffenheim v Schalke 04, Hertha Berlin v Mainz 05, Eintracht Frankfurt v Hamburg (1630 GMT)

Sunday

Werder Bremen v Nuremberg, Eintracht Braunschweig v VfB Stuttgart (1530 GMT)


AFP

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