With Pep Guardiola confirmed as Bayern Munich’s head coach for next season, the club’s stars have vowed to see off current boss Jupp Heynckes with trophies.
Bayern host the Bundesliga’s bottom side SpVgg Greuther Furth today at the Allianz Arena, nine points clear at the top of the table and the soccer world still buzzing over the arrival of ex-Barcelona coach Guardiola in July.
Bayern want to give Heynckes a fitting send off by winning silverware for the first time since May 2010, starting by securing another three points against Furth as the German league resumes after the winter break.
“Jupp Heynckes is a superb coach,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm, with his team dominating the Bundesliga, while still vying for both the German Cup and Champions League.
“We want him to have a great send-off, and what that means here at Bayern is winning trophies. That’s what we should focus on now,” he said.
Bayern can expect few problems against Furth, who have picked up just one league win all season, while Bayern were last beaten in the Bundesliga by Bayer 04 Leverkusen in October.
Heynckes has a full strength squad to choose from with Arjen Robben back from injury and center-back Holger Badstuber the only long-term casualty after tearing his cruciate knee ligament.
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund are at Werder Bremen with midfielder Nuri Sahin set for a place on the bench having returned on loan after stints at Real Madrid and Liverpool.
With his team third in the league, and 12 points adrift of Bayern, coach Jurgen Klopp admitted the title is Bayern’s to lose.
“We can still look forward to the second half of the season, even if we only have the goal of finishing second,” he said, having won the title for the last two years. “We have wound up Bayern’s bow for two years now, all they have to do is fire the arrows.”
Leverkusen are at fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, the league’s dark horses this season after being promoted, with the league’s top scorer, Bayer striker Stefan Kiessling, looking to add to his tally of 12 goals.
There are new bosses at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfL Wolfsburg and Nuremberg, who are home to Borussia Moenchengladbach, Vfb Stuttgart and Hamburg SV respectively.
Hamburg’s midfield star Rafael van der Vaart is expected to make his first appearance since tearing his hamstring in November.
Surprise packages FSV Mainz 05 and SC Freiburg meet today with Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel missing several key players.
Centerback Jan Kirchhoff is suspended while midfielder Radoslav Zabavnik, forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and defender Niko Bungert are all carrying knocks.