Rummenigge says Bayern will battle for top spot

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The Independent Online

Both teams are unbeaten and have already qualified for the next round of the Champions League, but four-time European champions Bayern Munich head to Lyons with first place in the group on the line.

Lyons and Bayern top their domestic leagues and are locked on 11 points in Europe, but Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge promised that there will be no easing up from Jürgen Klinsmann's team at Stade Gerland tonight. "We are still going to try to win the group because it allows you to play the first game in the next round away from home," Rummenigge said.

Franck Ribéry, Bayern's French midfielder, added: "The most important thing was qualifying. That's done. Finishing first is a considerable advantage. That's why we will play to win, or at worst get a good draw."

Bayern's pedigree may outshine Lyons' but the French club had several chances to win in a 1-1 draw in Munich in September. Lyons, aiming for an eighth straight league title, have made it clear their priority this season is a successful European campaign and are targeting a first semi-final place.

"Everyone is concentrating and focused when it comes to the Champions League," goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said. "It's true that maybe it's easier to get ready for a Champions League match than a league game."

Lyons and Bayern had contrasting fortunes in the past week. Lyons gave up a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Nantes, while Bayern rallied from a goal down to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 and pull level with their opponents at the top. Lyons' third defeat of the league season trimmed their lead over Marseilles to three points.

The similarities do not end there: both teams will be without a pair of Brazilians tonight, Juninho and Cris suspended for Lyon while Bayern's Lucio and Ze Roberto are suffering from illness and injury respectively. Defender Christian Lell is also ill and backup striker Lukas Podolski is out with a back injury for Bayern.

Lyons' coach Claude Puel's defence is without full-backs Anthony Réveillère and Francois Clerc. Utility player Mathieu Bodmer is also injured. Puel got a welcome boost with the news that top scorer Karim Benzema may be fit to play after missing two league matches with a thigh strain.

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