Bayern receive boost ahead of Frankfurt match
Friday 23 October 2009
An interesting statistic: Louis Van Gaal, coach at Bayern Munich, has exactly the same record in the Bundesliga as his predecessor, Jurgen Klinsmann, had at this point last season. He will be hoping to move out of the former coach's shadow, however, with a win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow.
The Dutchman Van Gaal has overseen a mixed start to the season; Bayern stand on fifteen points from the first nine matches, the exact tally reached by former German national coach Klinsmann. They head into tomorrow's clash with Frankfurt missing two flair players in Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. French international Ribery has been struggling with a knee injury since the early summer and is currently sidelined for up to a month. Robben - who has made an explosive start since signing for Bayern in August - is close to a return, but Saturday's match is probably too soon.
FCB will be boosted by the return of captain Mark van Bommel, back after a two-month lay off with a broken toe, who should add stability to the midfield. Striker Luca Toni will also be making a comeback from injury, playing his first match in the Allianz Arena since 23 May after emerging unscathed from his return to action last week against SC Freiburg.
Bayern will be looking to get back on track after a 2-1 defeat against Bordeaux in the Champions League on Wednesday. A bizarre match saw FCB concede two penalties - both saved - and be reduced to nine men. The result turns group A into a three-way scrap for qualification. Addressing the manager and players afterwards, Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge didn't exactly mince his words: "I'd like to suggest and persuade you urgently to adopt different methods compared to those in the first half. Otherwise, Bayern aren't going to follow a successful course this season."
Frankfurt will be hoping to capitalise on the pressure being placed on Van Gaal to try and steal a result. They come to Munich on the back of a victory against Hannover last week and only two points behind Bayern in the table. Bayern, on the other hand, will be looking to get back to winning ways before a tough two weeks that could make or break Van Gaal's season. A must-win Champions League return match against Bordeaux is sandwiched between two crucial league matches against rivals Stuttgart and Schalke.
Klinsmann oversaw a 4-0 victory in the equivalent match last year. A similar result tomorrow would be welcomed by Van Gaal. He will, though, be keen to avoid replicating Klinsmann's record for much longer: a fall off in performances saw Klinsmann being sacked five matches before the end of last season. If Bayern do not improve over the coming months, Van Gaal might not even make it that far.
John McManus is the winner of our bwin blogger competition and will be writing for The Independent from a number of events across Europe over the coming weeks.
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