Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bayern Munich v Hamburg: Champions target another heavy win to kick off defence

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 12 Aug 2015

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Hamburg may well be dreading their opening-day trip to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich following a succession of heavy defeats at the Allianz Arena.

The men from Germany’s second biggest city have conceded a remarkable 31 goals in their last five trips to Bayern, with 9-2 and 8-0 thrashings contributing to their misery.

For a Hamburg side who have scraped top-flight survival in recent seasons, it does not get any tougher. 

Bayern, who have recorded three Bundesliga crowns on the bounce, will view Friday’s fixture as an early chance to re-assert their dominance after the close-season.

Arturo Vidal, Douglas Costa and Joshua Kimmich have all made their way to Munich in recent weeks, as coach Pep Guardiola – once again heavily linked with taking charge at Manchester City – prepares himself for another push for glory on three fronts.

That trio of signings made their competitive debuts in Sunday’s DFB-Pokal first-round win at Nottingen, along with fellow new arrival Sven Ulreich, who has already noticed differences between the demands of being a goalkeeper for Bayern and former club Stuttgart.

“It’s a big difference,” he told the club’s official website. “You don’t have to make many saves and, as a keeper, you’re involved in the actual build-up play.

“In Stuttgart I usually played a long ball; here the build-up is done quietly from the back, there are very few long balls.

“If you get the ball you have to stay calm and patient and see where you can pass it next. Almost always there’s someone available.

“I’m getting more and more used to it every week.”

Ulreich is unlikely to depose Manuel Neuer as Bayern’s number one, but the 27-year-old is relishing the new campaign nonetheless.

“Pre-season is always hard. Now we can’t wait for the league games to begin,” he added. 

“There’s some excited tension. We’re all looking forward to the kick-off at the Allianz Arena, in front of our fans.”

Bayern, who lost three of their final four league fixtures last term, will be without Franck Ribery (ankle) and Holger Badstuber (thigh) for the Bundesliga curtain-raiser.

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