Sat, May 03, 2008 - Page 18 News List

BUNDES LIGA: Bayern looking to wrap up German title this weekend

AFP , BERLIN

It should all be over in the Bundesliga by tomorrow evening — having led from the start of the season, Bayern Munich should be confirmed German champions this weekend.

With a 12-point lead going into this weekend’s league program, Bayern are all set to be crowned German champions for the 21st time at VfL Wolfburg tomorrow with three games remaining before the league finishes on May 17.

With precious little time to recover from Thursday night’s UEFA Cup semi-final, second-leg in St Petersburg, Bayern will be using the full strength of their squad with two important games so close together.

But for Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath, who was sacked by Bayern in February last year, it would be a bitter pill to watch his former club lift the title.

“We got one point against Leverkusen recently and we want to celebrate a further success on Sunday against Munich with three points,” said the 54-year-old with some confidence.

But whether his side have improved enough since they lost 2-1 to Bayern at the Allianz Arena in November remains to be seen.

Now only a mathematical miracle would see Werder Bremen or Schalke 04 make up the 12 point gap to overhaul Bayern at the top of the table.

If both sides lose or draw this weekend, the title goes to Munich.

As the season draws to a close, unusual results can be expected with sides desperate for points — and league survival — beating sides at the higher end of the table.

Bremen face a real banana skin at Energie Cottbus, who are five points away from the relegation zone, but are still far from guaranteed survival.

Bremen’s playmaker Diego was unable to train with the rest of the team on Wednesday with a thigh injury.

“It’s nothing too severe, he should be OK for the weekend,” coach Thomas Schaaf said.

Likewise, Schalke can take nothing for granted against Hanover 96, but they expect to have Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi fit after he shook off a leg injury earlier in the week.

Caretaker coach Mike Bueskens was quick to give the all-clear for today’s visit of Hannover 96.

“Kevin took a blow to the leg in Hamburg”, he said. “But there’s no cause for concern.”

Bremen and Schalke enjoy a six-point gap over nearest rivals Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg and VfB Stuttgart with all three competing for the two UEFA Cup places left.

They also have a tough assignment at Hansa Rostock who are second from bottom of the table and desperately need the points.

Defending champions VfB Stuttgart are up against mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt while Bayer Leverkusen can expect a tough time at bottom side Duisburg tomorrow.

Hovering just about the relegation zone, Arminia Bielefeld need to beat mid-table VfL Bochum to ease their relegation worries today.

Mid-table Hertha Berlin and Karlsruhe will merely playing for pride when they clash today.

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