Bayern star Thomas Mueller wary of facing promoted neighbours Fuerth

Germany midfielder says visit to promoted Bavarian neighbours Fuerth could be tricky

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 August, 2012, 3:17am

Bayern Munich midfielder Thomas Mueller admits he is wary of his team's opening match of the Bundesliga season, as they travel to top-flight debutants Greuther Fuerth today.

Bavarian outfit Fuerth won the second division title and will play in Germany's top tier for the first time in their history.

Glamour club Bayern have been handed the unenviable task of playing their first game at their regional neighbours in what promises to be an emotional match when the hosts make their Bundesliga entrance.

"It will be a tough game," said Germany's Mueller ahead of the encounter at Fuerth's 18,500-capacity Trolli-Arena.

"Fuerth have a certain euphoria that they have taken from their rise and will do everything in their own stadium to keep a clean sheet. They will be driven and will run aggressively. They will throw everything at us, which is always unpleasant.

"They will get in our faces and will demand plenty from us."

Bayern's main fitness concern ahead of the game is French midfielder Franck Ribery, who is suffering from a fever having come off at half-time in Monday's 4-0 German Cup first-round win at second division Jahn Regensburg.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is optimistic the team can compensate for a possible loss of Ribery "We have strengthened our squad well," he said. " There are no more excuses."

Bayern's defeat by Chelsea in the Champions League final in May means they have gone two years without winning a major trophy and they are desperate to break Borussia Dortmund's current Bundesliga domination.

Munich invested over the summer, snapping up Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic from Wolfsburg for €13 million (HK$126 million), while Peru striker Claudio Pizarro was brought from Werder Bremen on a free transfer.

Brazilian centre-half Dante has arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach, while Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri was recruited from FC Basel.

With Germany striker Mario Gomez, who scored 41 goals in 52 games last season, sidelined for at least the next few weeks following ankle surgery, Mandzukic and Pizarro are battling for the lone striker's berth.

Defending champions Borussia Dortmund, who were in action against Werder Bremen last night in the season-opener, remained characteristically modest despite the tantalising possibility of a third straight title.

Only Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayern Munich have ever won three in a row, raising the prospect of Dortmund being compared to the great 'Gladbach or Bayern sides of the 1970s, or the Bayern teams who repeated the feat in 1985-87 and 1999-2001.

Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said his team's aim is "to play in the Champions League in 2013-14. No more and no less."



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