Bayern to return to winning ways

2015-02-20 11:40
Robert Lewandowski (File)

Berlin - Bayern Munich will be aiming to get back to winning ways at Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Saturday following their draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

The German champions were disappointed to be held goalless in Ukraine on Tuesday in the first leg of their last 16 tie.

Pep Guardiola's side will be expected to bounce back this weekend after sporting director Matthias Sammer said the performance against Shakhtar did not reflect "the real Bayern Munich".

"Everyone can see we have room to improve before we reach peak form and that's the message for the next few days," he said. "We have to shift up a gear."

Bayern, who are currently eight points clear at the top of the table, beat Paderborn 4-0 in Munich in September.

Paderborn earned a vital win at Hanover last time out as they seek to avoid a swift return to the second division.

Their manager Andre Breitenreiter dismissed the theory that Bayern are not near their best by pointing out the result of the Bavarians' last league match.

"After their 8-0 win over Hamburg, I'm looking forward to seeing what awaits us," he said on Thursday.

Bayern were handed a boost on Thursday when midfielder Thiago Alcantara came through some light training following knee surgery. The 23-year-old Spanish international last played in March 2014.

Captain Philip Lahm also returned to training this week with a view to playing again in a month's time.

Meanwhile, having lost 2-0 at home to Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, fourth-placed Schalke host Werder Bremen.

Schalke lost their last league match 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt, while Werder are the form side in the Bundesliga.

Last week's win over fifth-placed Augsburg was their fifth in succession and another victory on Saturday would see Werder move to within two points of the home team.

Sitting one point above the relegation zone, Mainz 05 replaced Kasper Hjulmand with Martin Schmidt during the week. The new manager's first game in charge will be at home to midtable Eintracht Frankfurt.

On Sunday, Hamburg face a tough fixture at home to third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Club captain Rafael van der Vaart admitted he is not enjoying being part of a side that is once again involved in a relegation dogfight.

"I'm in not in the form that I'd like and I've played badly," the Dutch midfielder said on Thursday.

"Running, scrapping, running, scrapping - that's not the situation I can shine in."

Second-bottom Hertha Berlin must travel to second-placed VfL Wolfsburg.

Pressure is seemingly getting to the visitors, with goalkeeper Thomas Kraft and midfielder Ronny reportedly involved in a training ground bust-up on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp said he would concentrate on their game at bottom club VfB Stuttgart on Friday rather than letting thoughts drift to Tuesday's Champions League last 16 clash against Juventus in Italy.

"What sort of idiot would I be if I rested someone so he could play against Juve?" Klopp asked.

"We'll have the full band with us against Stuttgart. I'll be picking my team without thinking about Juve."


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