Hamburg braced for Bayern back-lash

Fear is rising in northern Germany that Hamburg will be on a hiding to nothing this weekend when they travel to face a Bayern Munich side wounded by Manchester City in midweek.

Bayern Munich's midfielder Mario Goetze, Bayern

Last time these two sides met in Munich a year ago, the hosts put nine past Hamburg, conceding only two.

In the wake of a 1-0 defeat to Augsburg last weekend, Hamburg president Carl Jarchow warned that they "will concede 12" if they play the same way at the Allianz Arena, and with Bayern reeling after their first defeat of the campaign, those fears could well be justified.

"Maybe this is good for us in view of our next game and the Club World Cup," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola after Tuesday's 3-2 defeat to City. "All I keep hearing is our next game is no problem for Bayern, we keep winning anyway.

"But no, no no - it's difficult! I think this defeat reminds us that not everything happens all by itself."

The result also gives Hamburg's vice-captain Marcel Jansen belief that his side can become the first to beat Bayern in the Bundesliga in 41 games.

"We've seen that Bayern are beatable after all," he said in the Hamburger Abendblatt. "Then again, our game has nothing to do with the Champions League.

"We're going to have to push ourselves to the limit, regardless of how Bayern react."

A win for Bayern would give them a seven-point cushion at the top of the Bundesliga and ensure their place at the summit going into the winter break, clinching the unofficial 'autumn champions' award.

Any other result would leave Bayer Leverkusen the chance of catching them before the turn of the year.

Sami Hyypia's men are in action on Sunday against Eintracht Frankfurt, and with Bayern's last Bundesliga fixture of the year postponed due to the Club World Cup, they have two games to try to turn their deficit on the Bavarians around.

Borussia Dortmund are out of the running to finish the year at the top, however.

Defeat to Leverkusen last weekend has left them ten points adrift of the summit and keen merely to end the year without losing any more ground, starting with Saturday's trip to Hoffenheim.

At the bottom of the table, winless Nurnberg and Eintracht Braunschweig are battling it out not to end the year looking up at the rest of the league. The Bavarians travel to Hannover while the Lower Saxony side head to Augsburg, who are just four points adrift of the top six.

Freiburg are also in danger near the foot of the table and they will be keen on revenge for a defeat against Schalke on the last day of last season which cost them a place in the Champions League when the two teams meet in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Mainz host high-flying Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg face Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin take on Werder Bremen in the first game of the weekend on Friday night.



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