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Stakes high for Bayern´s Klinsmann

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 4 Apr 2009

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Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann says his side begin five crucial days on Saturday as the defending Bundesliga champions travel to title-rivals Wolfsburg ahead of facing Barcelona in the Champions League.

Bayern are level on both points and goals with Wolfsburg just behind league leaders Hertha Berlin and then travel to Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium for next Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg clash.

Because of international call-ups, Klinsmann has only had eight of his squad to train with for the last two weeks with the last of his players having returned from World Cup qualification only on Friday.

“The Wolfsburg game will be a test of our strength and character in the fight for the championship and Champions League qualification for next season – a lot is at stake,” said Klinsmann.

“We could only prepare for such an important game as early as Friday. The time is damned short, but Bayern Munich is used to this situation.

“From our point of view, it is only nice when people return to the club having been successful for their country and without injury.”

Under former Bayern coach Felix Magath, Wolfsburg are a strong unit and have won all bar one of their games at home this season.

In strikers Grafite and Edin Dzeko they have the league’s most dangerous pairing with 21 goals between them.

With his side facing a huge test at the Nou Camp, Klinsmann says it is also important his side get a good result to gain valuable confidence before heading to Spain.

“Wolfsburg will be a factor whether we go with our heads held high to Barcelona,” he said.

“We need a lot of confidence for both games. We have to give everything we can against Wolfsburg and the team will have to go to their limits.”

Bayern will welcome back Italian pair striker Luca Toni and defender Massimo Oddo for the Wolfsburg trip.

Toni scored a hat-trick in a training game on Wednesday and has recovered from his achilles tendon injury.

League leaders Hertha need to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat at Stuttgart last time out as they look to hold their position at the top of the table when they host Borussia Dortmund.

Hertha are waiting to see if their hot-shot striker Andrei Voronin will be fit after he broke his nose playing for the Ukraine against England in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.

Hertha coach Lucien Favre has recalled midfielder Patrick Ebert to the senior squad after he was demoted to the reserves last month following a late-night drinking incident.

Hamburg are level on points with both Bayern and Wolfsburg, but are only fourth on goal difference and they host fifth-placed Hoffenheim who are now four points off leaders Hertha.

Hamburg coach Martin Jol is waiting on the fitness of both forward Mladen Petric and defender Guy Demel, who are struggling with injury.

Jerome Boateng is out with the ‘flu while midfielder Marcell Jansen, who left the Germany squad on Wednesday suffering with the same illness is hopeful of playing.

Stuttgart travel to Bochum on Saturday hoping goalkeeper Jens Lehmann will have signed an extension to his contract which expires in the summer.

Seventh-placed Bayer Leverkusen are at Cologne on Sunday with Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler insisting he will play despite suffering with an elbow injury.

Friday

Arminia Bielefeld v Schalke 04

Saturday

VfL Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich, VfL Bochum v VfB Stuttgart, Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt v Energie Cottbus, Hamburg v Hoffenheim

Sunday

Cologne v Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen v Hanover 96, Karlsruhe v Borussia Moenchengladbach

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