Bundesliga: Bayern face threat from familiar foe

October 23, 2008

BERLIN, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich's recovery is unlikely to survive the visit of a familiar foe on Saturday unless they heed the words of captain Mark van Bommel.

Juergen Klinsmann's side are back within five points of the leaders as they prepare to face a VfL Wolfsburg side coached by former Bayern boss Felix Magath (kickoff 1330 GMT).

It is the sort of match they should be relishing after 3-0 win at home to Fiorentina in the Champions League but Van Bommel knows Tuesday's scoreline masked an uncomfortable truth.

While the Bavarians had arguably their best game of the season in attacking terms, they left huge gaps in defence and better finishing from Fiorentina, who had a total of 23 shots, could have made it a different story.

"We were very lucky not to concede at least one goal against Fiorentina," Van Bommel told reporters after the match.

"There's a lot we have to improve on."

Bayern will be hit by the absence of defender Philipp Lahm, after he suffered an ankle injury against the Italians. Christian Lell is likely to step in.

Otherwise the injury situation is looking good and coach Juergen Klinsmann believes the club are seeing the benefit of the tougher training regime he imposed on taking over before the start of the current season.

"Out physical condition is giving me a lot of confidence," Klinsmann told reporters after the Fiorentina victory.

"We're in good shape, and we're just starting to see the early results of our extremely demanding training over the last three months.

"The players aren't pulling up short any more, they have it in them to run 60 yards even as late as the 86th minute. We're also developing an element of consistency."

Victory over Fiorentina followed a 1-0 win away to Karlsruhe last weekend, a result that left them in the lower half of the table but within sight of leaders Hamburg.

Once again, Hamburg are not in action until Sunday, when they visit second-placed Hoffenheim, meaning Bayern have the chance to put further pressure on their title rivals with a Saturday victory.

The fixture list has presented Bayer Leverkusen with an even better opportunity, as victory at home to Cologne on Friday would take them up from third to first.