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Bundesliga: Bremen boss stirs up bad blood with Bayern

Resurgent Werder Bremen have accused run-away Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich of influencing referees during matches, turning up the tension ahead of Saturday`s league clash in the Hanseatic City.

Bundesliga: Bremen boss stirs up bad blood with Bayern

Berlin: Resurgent Werder Bremen have accused run-away Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich of influencing referees during matches, turning up the tension ahead of Saturday`s league clash in the Hanseatic City.

"You have to be careful when going into challenges against Bayern," Bremen`s director of sport Thomas Eichin told Bremen`s Weserkurier.

"I have the feeling there are double standards going on."

Eichin`s comments come after Bayern star Franck Ribery was lucky to escape a red card after kicking out following a legitimate tackle early in Bayern`s 3-1 win at Hanover 96 last Saturday.

"He should have already been sent off five times this season," added Eichin, a former general manager of Ice Hockey team Cologne Sharks.

Bayern`s volatile director of sport Matthias Sammer was quick to hit back.

"That subtly means that we manipulate (referees) and it`s totally out of place to express that," said Sammer following Bayern`s 7-0 drubbing of Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday put them in the Champions League`s quarter-finals.

"He clearly once took a puck to the head and these are the long-term consequences."

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge took a patronising stance.

"If this was in school, I would say: In the corner and shame on you!" fumed the Bavarian chief.

Both Ribery and his opposite wing Arjen Robben, Bayern`s top scorer, are out of Saturday`s clash with an ankle injury and trapped nerve respectively.

Defensive midfielder Xabi Alonso is suspended after five yellow cards this season, but Bayern captain Philipp Lahm could return to the starting line-up for the first time since fracturing his leg in November.

Bremen will also be without top-scorer Franco di Santos as the Argentinian striker is also suspended.

With an 11-point lead, Bayern settled this season`s title race months ago, but Bremen have turned their season around with six wins in their last ten games to go from 18th to eighth in the table.

But Bremen has been a happy hunting ground of late for the Bayern goal-machine, which has put 18 goals past the Werder defence in their last three league meetings.

"Against Bayern, there is no need to motivate anyone. We want to get back to annoying them and perhaps even beating them," said Bremen`s Ukraine coach Viktor Skripnik.

Elswehere, Borussia Dortmund plan to keep clear of the relegation places when they host Cologne on Saturday in their final warm-up before their crucial Champions League clash at home to Juventus.

Both Cologne and Borussia are mid table, but Dortmund are without defensive midfielder Nuri Sahin, who has a leg injury, while Sven Bender is doubtful with heavy bruising.

Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has said his side must be wary of Cologne, who inflicted a shock defeat in the first half of the season which contributed to Dortmund going bottom of the table last month.

"We will have to work. They have won two home games and most importantly one of them was against us," said the Borussia boss.

Having earned applause from Real Madrid`s fans after bowing out of the Champions League despite a stunning 4-3 away win at the current holders on Tuesday, Schalke return to domestic duties at Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

With just three league wins in their last 10 matches, Schalke coach Roberto di Matteo is hoping Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who scored twice against Real, can avoid another yellow card which would see him earn a one-match suspension.Fixtures (All times 1430 GMT unless stated)

Friday

Bayer Leverkusen v VfB Stuttgart (1930)

Saturday

Augsburg v Mainz 05, Hoffenheim v Hamburg, Hertha Berlin v Schalke 04, Werder Bremen v Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt v Paderborn, Borussia Dortmund v Cologne (1730)

Sunday

VfL Wolfsburg v Freiburg, Bor. Moenchengladbach v Hanover 96

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