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Bayern´s sleepless van Gaal eyes Schalke

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 7 Nov 2009

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Coach Louis van Gaal has admitted a few sleepless nights ahead of Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga clash with Schalke 04 on Saturday in the wake of their Champions League defeat at home to Bordeaux.

The French left Munich’s Allianz Arena on Tuesday with three points and a place in the knock-out phases, while Bayern are virtually out of the competition and need to raise their heads for Schalke’s visit.

Van Gaal gave his players Thursday off training to help them focus on closing the four-point gap behind Bundesliga leaders Leverkusen with his side sixth in the table.

“Did you sleep well? Because I didn’t,” van Gaal gruffly asked the assembled media ahead of the Schalke match.

“I cancelled training on Thursday so the players could freshen up mentally and turn their attention to Schalke.

“It?s another important game and it?s another one we have to win.

“My emotional reaction would be to raise my voice after the Bordeaux defeat, but that?s not appropriate for an analysis.”

Despite his side failing to score against Bordeaux, van Gaal is buoyed by the return of Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who looked dangerous against the French but is still lacking match fitness after a month off with a knee injury.

“It?s still a tough situation for me,” said Robben.

“I?m still not fully fit. I need more training and more time.”

The attacker twisted a knee in the early October Champions League meeting with Juventus and had a small operation, but just over four weeks later, he was able to manage a full 45 minutes against Bordeaux.

“We need to be cautious with him,” admitted van Gaal, with Robben expected to face Schalke.

Fourth-placed Schalke will not be an easy game for Bayern as the Royal Blues have made a habit of coming from behind to seal late draws against title rivals Hamburg and Leverkusen in the last two weeks.

With just four points separating the top six teams, league leaders Leverkusen will be looking to cement their position with a win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night.

Leverkusen have drawn their last three Bundesliga games and still top of the table: Bayer have conceded the fewest goals (eight), kept the most clean sheets (six) and been most successful in restricting shots on their own goal (22).

Second-placed Werder Bremen, who beat Austria Vienna 2-0 in the Europa League Cup, are at home to mid-table Borussia Dortmund and third-placed Hamburg, who drew 0-0 with Celtic in the Europa League, are also in action on Sunday at Hanover.

Friday

Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt

Saturday

Bayern Munich v Schalke 04

Hoffenheim v VfL Wolfsburg

VfL Bochum v Freiburg

Borussia M’gladbach v VfB Stuttgart

Mainz 05 v Nuremberg

Sunday

Hanover 96 v Hamburg

Hertha Berlin v Cologne

Werder Bremen v Borussia Dortmund

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