Bayern Munich out to down Mainz to stay on top
Bayern Munich host Mainz on Saturday looking for their third Bundesliga win of the season after club President Uli Hoeness dismissed champions Dortmund as just a "regional" team.sports Updated: Sep 14, 2012 08:17 IST
Bayern Munich host Mainz on Saturday looking for their third Bundesliga win of the season after club President Uli Hoeness dismissed champions 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 from Athletic Bilbao a fortnight ago, alongside Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger, in midfield against Mainz.
Dortmund, who have won the German league title for the last two seasons, host Bayer Leverkusen with German Chancellor Angela Merkel expected to be in the crowd, but Hoeness has upped the ante with some trash talking.
"Dortmund is a relatively regional thing. Bayern is 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 ten times in a row to perhaps be more popular."
While Bayern have won away at Greuther Fuerth and trounced Stuttgart in Munich in their opening games, Dortmund opened their bid for a third consecutive league crown with a narrow win over Bremen and a draw at Nuremberg.
Both Bayern and Dortmund have 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," said Heynckes. "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 last November and were then held to a goalless draw in Munich last April.
"They're difficult opponents with a good pressing game," said Heynckes. "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 tough battle.
"Bayer Leverkusen has an exceptionally good team. This will be a really difficult game," said Klopp. "The season has really started now and we will have to work hard."
Dark horses Eintracht, who won promotion last season, are second in the league after impressive wins over Leverkusen and Hoffenheim.
They host Hamburg in Frankfurt on Sunday 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 excited as I was for my debut," said van der Vaart.
Third-placed Hanover host Werder Bremen, whose Austrian 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," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf."
"Sure, Austria lost, but it's better that way than to have played in a poor match."
Schaaf says he expects a tough match at Hanover, who won 4-0 at Wolfsburg in their last league match. "It's clear the team is well established and has great self-confidence," he said.
First Published: Sep 14, 2012 07:40 IST