'Careless, gutted' Bayern look to salvage season
Bayern Munich begin their recovery from back-to-back defeats at Hanover 96 on Saturday determined to salvage something from the season as they pick through the wreckage of their title dreams.sports Updated: Mar 04, 2011 10:03 IST
Bayern Munich begin their recovery from back-to-back defeats at Hanover 96 on Saturday determined to salvage something from the season as they pick through the wreckage of their title dreams.
Bayern, fourth in the league, were knocked out of the German Cup thanks to a 1-0 semi-final defeat to Schalke at Munich's Allianz Arena on Wednesday, four days after they lost 3-1 at home to league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Having done the league and cup double last season, silverware has been slipping from their grasp in the last week alone.
Bayern are now out of the cup and 16 points behind Dortmund in the league with 10 games left to play this season and face third-placed Hanover on Saturday.
"If we win neither the league nor the cup, it's not a good season for Bayern," said captain Philipp Lahm.
"We must ensure we come second in the Bundesliga, but it'll be hard to salvage anything from this season.
"It's bitter and we're gutted. We set out to win both trophies. It can't be replayed and repaired, we've carelessly tossed it all away.
"The game on Saturday is extremely important to us, perhaps the most important of the season.
"Everything's at stake, second place is at stake. We have to go to Hannover and win, whatever it takes."
The defeat has left Bayern's stars in despair, but second in the table will give them an automatic Champions League berth next season.
Consecutive home defeats were not part of their plan and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admits their cup exit has hurt the Bavarian giants.
"We were utterly determined to make the final in Berlin," he said.
"Every defeat hurts, it's bad for our confidence and for our image.
"We don't want to get used to it, but we have to stay calm."
Hanover 96 will be without Ivory Coast striker Didier Ya Konan, because of a knee injury.
The 26-year-old has netted 11 goals in 21 games this season and also missed last weekend's 1-0 win at Hamburg's St Pauli.
League leaders Borussia Dortmund are hoping to take a step closer to their first Bundesliga title since 2002 when they host Cologne on Friday at their 80,720-capacity sold out stadium.
Cologne are unbeaten in their last four matches and are eager to become only the third club to beat Borussia in the league this season.
With ten league games left to play, Dortmund are 12 points clear of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen who host VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday night.
With midfielder Arturo Vidal banned after being sent off in last Sunday's draw with Bremen, Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes is likely to include former captain Michael Ballack in the team alongside Bayer skipper Simon Rolfes.
The 34-year-old Ballack has been struggling with a knee injury as he tries to win back his place in the national side.
Borussia Dortmund v Cologne
VfB Stuttgart v Schalke 04
Eintracht Frankfurt v Kaiserslautern
Borussia M'gladbach v Hoffenheim
Hanover 96 v Bayern Munich
Nuremberg v St. Pauli
Bayer Leverkusen v VfL Wolfsburg
Freiburg v Werder Bremen
Hamburg v Mainz 05