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Buoyant Bayern hunt victory at emotional Hanover

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 28 Nov 2009

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Bayern Munich striker Ivica Olic warned the German giants will use their midweek Champions League success to boost their flagging confidence in a highly-emotional Bundesliga game at Hanover on Sunday.

Despite their 1-0 win over Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday in Europe, Bayern are seventh in the Bundesliga table and six points behind league leaders Bayer Leverkusen who host struggling Stuttgart on Sunday.

But Bayern’s game promises to be an emotional afternoon at Hanover in the home side’s first match since captain and goalkeeper Robert Enke committed suicide on November 10.

More than 35,000 mourning fans attended the memorial service for the national team’s goalkeeper at Hanover’s stadium two weeks ago and this will be the first Bundesliga game played there since.

Munich coach Louis van Gaal has been given the ultimatum he must win all four remaining league games – starting with Hanover – to safe guard his job after drawing his last three league games.

Bayern’s last league victory came more than a month ago against Eintracht Frankfurt, but having recovered from a calf injury, Bayern forward Olic is ready to strike against Hanover.

“We deserved our victory against Haifa and now I hope we can go on and win all our matches before Christmas – starting with Hanover,” said Olic who scored the winner on Wednesday.

“I was out for seven weeks and I played my first game with only a single training session with the team.

“My legs hurt now and I am tired, but I hope I can recover enough in the next few days before the Hanover match so I can be 100 percent again.”

It has been a testing week for Bayern whose Italian want-away striker Luca Toni has been told by van Gaal he can leave in January’s transfer window.

Toni earned himself a 25,000 euros fine on Wednesday for telling the Italian media his relationship with van Gaal “is as good as over” following just four league appearances this season and he has been thrown out of the squad.

Undefeated Leverkusen are home to Stuttgart, who are three from the bottom of the Bundesliga, with their last league win coming almost two months ago despite beating Glasgow Rangers last week to keep their Champions League dream alive.

Second-placed Werder Bremen are at home to defending champions VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday with Thomas Schaaf’s side having been beaten just once so far this season.

Wolfsburg, who are eighth in the Bundesliga, are still in contention for the knock-out stages of the Champions League despite being beaten 2-1 by CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

Third-placed Schalke, unbeaten in their last eight league games, are now serious title contenders as they are just two points behind Leverkusen and will be hoping for three more points against midtable Moenchengladbach.

Mainz, who have climbed their way up to sixth in the table, are home to fifth-placed Hamburg on Saturday who had some bad news when Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto was ruled out for the rest of the year.

The 35-year-old had surgery on Thursday for damaged ankle ligaments.

The news is bad news for Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia who has strikers Paolo Guerrero and Mladen Petric, winger Romeo Castelen, defenders Collin Benjamin, Alex Silva und Bastian Reinhardt all out with long-term injuries.

Saturday

Hertha Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt

Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund

Werder Bremen v VfL Wolfsburg

Mainz 05 v Hamburg

Nuremberg v Freiburg

Borussia M’gladbach v Schalke 04

Sunday

Bayer Leverkusen v VfB Stuttgart

Hanover 96 v Bayern Munich

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