Bayern Munich host FSV Mainz 05 today looking for their third Bundesliga win of the season after club president Uli Hoeness dismissed champions Borussia Dortmund as just a “regional” team.
Bayern are set to start new signing Javier Martinez, who cost them a German league record 40 million euros (US$52 million) from Athletic Bilbao two weeks ago, alongside Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield against Mainz.
Dortmund, who have won the league title for the past two seasons, host Bayer 04 Leverkusen, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel expected to be in the crowd, but Hoeness has upped the ante with some trash talking.
“Dortmund are a relatively regional thing. Bayern are a global player,” Hoeness told a digital trade fair in Cologne. “[Dortmund] will never, never, never catch up to our enormous success over the last 30 years. They will have to win the German title 10 times in a row to perhaps be more popular.”
While Bayern have won away at SpVgg Greuther Fuerth and trounced VfB Stuttgart in Munich in their opening games, Dortmund opened their bid for a third consecutive league crown with a narrow win over Werder Bremen and a draw at Nuremberg.
Both Bayern and Dortmund have UEFA Champions League games looming, with Munich hosting Valencia on Wednesday, while Borussia are at home to Ajax on Tuesday and Bavarian coach Jupp Heynckes has said he will rotate his squad.
“Every player will get a chance and every player will get playing time,” Heynckes said. “I am not going to decide [whether to start Martinez] just yet. I have to consider how we want to play against Valencia the following Wednesday, but we have quite a few options.”
Bayern struggled against Mainz last season after suffering a shock 3-2 defeat away in November last year and they were then held to a goalless draw in Munich in April.
“They’re difficult opponents, with a good pressing game,” Heynckes said. “We need to be just as aggressive as we were against Stuttgart, accept the rules of engagement set by our opponents and use our footballing class in attack.”
After his side drew 1-1 at Nuremberg last time out, Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp expects a battle.
“Bayer Leverkusen have an exceptionally good team. This will be a really difficult game,” Klopp said. “The season has really started now and we will have to work hard.”
Dark horses Eintracht Frankfurt, who won promotion last season, are second in the league after impressive wins over Leverkusen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
They host Hamburg SV in Frankfurt tomorrow, with Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart set to make his debut having returned from Tottenham Hotspur to the north German club, who have lost both of their opening games.
“I’m glad that it’s finally going to happen. I am as excited as I was for my debut,” Van der Vaart said.
Third-placed Hannover 96 host Werder Bremen, whose Austria internationals Marko Arnautovic, Sebastian Proedl and Zlatko Junuzovic played in Wednesday’s 2-1 World Cup qualifier defeat to Germany in Vienna.
“They have to take the positives from the game,” Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said. “Sure, Austria lost, but it’s better that way than to have played in a poor match.”
Schaaf said he expects a tough match at Hannover, who won 4-0 at VfL Wolfsburg in their last league match.
“It’s clear the team is well established and has great self-confidence,” he said.