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Keep your eyes on Augsburg, warns Dortmund's coach

10 Mar 2012 05:46:57

Keep your eyes on Augsburg, warns Dortmund's coach

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has warned the German league leaders not to underestimate relegation-threatened Augsburg ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga clash.

Dortmund opened a seven-point lead at the top last weekend when all of their three rivals -- Bayern Munich, Schalke and Borussia Moenchengladbach -- suffered defeats.

Having set a new club record of eight straight wins, Dortmund are looking to extend their run, but Klopp warned that after just one defeat in their last six league games, Augsburg are not to be taken lightly.

"This is no longer the Augsburg we know from the first half of the season," said Klopp after Augsburg took just 15 points from their first 17 games and were beaten 4-0 in Dortmund last October.

"Since we played them at home, a lot has happened. They have assembled a really really good team and have earned some good results, it will be hard work there."

Dortmund will welcome back captain Sebastian Kehl from suspension while Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is expected to be fit after shaking off a thigh strain.

Germany teenage star Mario Gomez will travel with the team as he continues to recover from a groin injury.

Second-placed Bayern Munich host Hoffenheim on Saturday eager to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat at Leverkusen last weekend.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said he intends to see out the 15 months left on his contract, despite media reports claiming he is set to quit at the end of the season.

"I have a contract here and I am working on the assumption I will see it out," said the 66-year-old, who has a deal in Munich until June 2013.

Bayern's fortunes have taken a nosedive since Christmas with just four wins in their last nine games and Heynckes admits it is an "unsatisfactory situation".

They must also overturn a 1-0 deficit against FC Basel next Tuesday to reach the last eight of the Champions League.

Heynckes was boosted by news on Wednesday that Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger has returned to full training after tearing ankle ligaments at the start of February.

Cologne are hoping to have striker Lukas Podolski fit for Saturday's home match against Hertha Berlin after he sat out training on Thursday with stomach problems.

The German media are widely reporting he is set to join Premier League giants Arsenal at the end of the season and the only thing missing on a four-year contract with the Gunners is his signature.

Third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach host second-from-bottom Freiburg on Saturday while bottom side Kaiserslautern are at Stuttgart on Friday looking to pick up their first win in 15 games.

Coach Marco Kurz has admitted his days are numbered unless his team can break their winless run.

"This is not about me and I don't expect the players to win for me, but for the club and the fans," said Kurz, who extended his contract last October until June 2013.

"This will be a big task for us, but I am looking forward to it."

The only weekend match played on Friday, VfB Stuttgart vs Kaiserslautern, ended in a goalless draw..

Saturday

VfL Wolfsburg v Bayer Leverkusen, Mainz v Nuremberg, Borussia M'gladbach v Freiburg, Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim, Cologne v Hertha Berlin, Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund

Sunday

Werder Bremen v Hanover 96, Schalke 04 v Hamburg


AFP

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