Bayern opt for defensive approach

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The Independent Online

Player power, or a shrewd exercise in democracy? Bayern Munich fans will not care if the team's new style revives their faltering Bundesliga campaign.

Bayern may have won 5-0 away to Sporting Lisbon in midweek but in domestic competition they intend to play more defensively following a meeting between senior players and coach Jurgen Klinsmann held in the wake of last week's home defeat to Cologne.

"Within the team council we agreed that something was not right and we have decided to play more defensively," Miroslav Klose said yesterday. The team council, which includes Klinsmann, Klose, Philipp Lahm, Lucio, Mark van Bommel and Martin Demichelis, met after the club's third defeat in four matches left them four points adrift of the leaders, Martin Jol's Hamburg. "The coach was part of every discussion," insisted Klose. "We sat down and agreed to put more weight on the defence."

Bayern travel to Werder Bremen, who put Milan out of the Uefa Cup, tomorrow. "We have to get points," said Klinsmann, who was told this week by general manager Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, "We have to meet our targets. We want to defend the championship and will take stock in the summer." Hamburg host Wolfsburg.

Also under pressure is Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti who admitted the club now have only Champions League qualifying to play for. "Certainly, it is not much, but it's an important objective," he said. Milan, out of Europe and 11 points behind leaders Inter, are at Sampdoria tomorrow.

In Spain Barcelona hope tomorrow to recover form at Atletico Madrid whom they have already beaten three times this season.