Augsburg bid to upstage Bayern Munich

AFP , Friday 12 Dec 2014

Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (2R) celebrates his goal with team mate Xabi Alonso during their German Bundesliga first division soccer match against Bayer Leverkusen in Munich December 6, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Modest Augsburg, enjoying their best ever start to a season, will hope history repeats itself on Saturday when they play host to the mighty Bayern Munich in a Bavarian derby.

Last season Augsburg ended Bayern's record 53-game unbeaten run when they beat Pep Guardiola's side 1-0 at the SGL Arena in April thanks to a Sascha Moelders strike.

That result may have only come after Bayern had wrapped up the title, but it gives Augsburg reason to believe they can once again spring a surprise against the dominant force not just in the region, but in the whole country.

Midfielder Tobias Werner acknowledged that it will be "a mammoth task" for his side, but added: "It's one we're looking forward to. We've already shown we can cause Bayern problems."

Bayern make the short 70-kilometre trip fresh from wrapping up their Champions League group-stage campaign with a routine 3-0 victory against CSKA Moscow in midweek.

The reigning champions have dropped just six points, and conceded only three goals, in an unbeaten start to the campaign and are seven points clear of VfL Wolfsburg at the top of the table.

However, Augsburg, who were promoted to the top flight for the first time in 2011, are enjoying a superb season in their own right under Markus Weinzierl.

The 39-year-old, who spent time on the books at Bayern as a player in the 1990s, has taken his team to third place, the highest the club has ever been in the Bundesliga, thanks to a club-record run of four consecutive wins.

"It'll be an interesting game. They've been very good in recent years and if my memory serves me correctly we didn't do too well there last season. It's difficult to play there," said Bayern's World Cup final hero Mario Goetze.

Elsewhere, Wolfsburg, after a decisive Europa League trip to Lille on Thursday, will be looking for a ninth win in 10 Bundesliga games when they host Paderborn on Sunday.

Meanwhile, fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, one of four German clubs through to the last 16 of the Champions League, entertain Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Leverkusen this week welcomed Stefan Reinartz, who has been out since October with a fractured eye socket, back to training, although he will not be ready for a return to the team yet.

However, the match will see Germany midfielder Christoph Kramer return to face his parent club just days after confirming he would rejoin Leverkusen next summer at the end of his two-year loan to Gladbach.

Borussia Dortmund, another of Germany's Champions League hopefuls, go to Hertha Berlin bidding to make it back-to-back Bundesliga wins for the first time since September.

Jurgen Klopp's men beat Hoffenheim 1-0 last time out, but they remain just a point clear of the relegation zone after an underwhelming start to the season.

However, Hertha's own form has been poor - the capital club have lost four of their last five matches.

Klopp confirmed that Australian goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak is set to continue in goal after being selected ahead of Roman Weidenfeller for his side's last two matches.

"Little details worked in Mitch's favour. He's done well so far and provided nothing untoward happens then he'll be in goal for our three matches this week," said Klopp.

Fixtures (kick-offs 1430 GMT unless stated)


Hoffenheim v Eintracht Frankfurt (1930 GMT)


Schalke 04 v Cologne, Augsburg v Bayern Munich, Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen v Hanover 96, Freiburg v Hamburg, Mainz v Stuttgart (1730 GMT)


Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Moenchengladbach (1430 GMT), VfL Wolfsburg v Paderborn (1630 GMT)

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