More records in sight as Bayern go to Hoffenheim
Berlin: Bayern Munich have their eyes set on equalling a 30-year-old record for the Bundesliga`s longest unbeaten run as they prepare to go to Hoffenheim on Saturday.
Following their treble-winning 2012-13 campaign in which they broke one record after another, the outgoing Jupp Heynckes appeared to have left his successor Pep Guardiola with a thankless task.
But Guardiola has picked up where Heynckes left off and has already equalled Bayern`s longest ever unbeaten start to a Bundesliga season, set in 1968/69.
As a result, the reigning champions are now undefeated in their domestic league in 35 games in over a year and a draw or a win at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim on Saturday will see them match the previous best mark set by Hamburg between January 1982 and January 1983.
"Our target and ambition is to take all three points in Hoffenheim," left-back David Alaba said this week.
"But obviously, we know Hoffenheim will make it as hard as they can for us in front of their home crowd. Hoffenheim are much stronger compared to last season and they`re playing well as a team."
Games involving Hoffenheim have tended to be entertaining affairs this season, with Markus Gisdol`s side the joint-top scorers in the division alongside Borussia Dortmund.
And their last home game was the now infamous 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen a fortnight ago in which Stefan Kiessling`s `phantom goal` ultimately proved to be the decisive counter.
Hoffenheim have since learned that the result of that match will stand, but their confidence was lifted by a 4-1 win at Hannover last week and Gisdol is looking forward to welcoming the champions.
"It`s a special game for us -- for Bayern not so much," said Gisdol this week, perhaps forgetting the record that is in sight for the visitors in Sinsheim.
Like Bayern, Leverkusen have records in sight this weekend, as a win at struggling Eintracht Braunschweig will make this their best ever start to a season in 34 years in the Bundesliga.
Sami Hyypia`s side, who saw Germany midfielder Lars Bender sign a contract extension this week tying him to the club until 2019, should prove too strong for Braunschweig, who have won just once so far in what is their first top-flight campaign in more than quarter of a century.
In other games, Schalke warm up for their Champions League trip to face Chelsea by taking on fifth-place Hertha Berlin in the capital, and struggling duo Nuremberg and Freiburg are both still looking for their first win of the season as they meet in Franconia.
On Friday, Borussia Dortmund reclaimed the Bundesliga summit, Jurgen Klopp`s side going two points clear of Bayern on the back of an impressive 6-1 win over Stuttgart.
Stuttgart arrived at the Champions League runners-up in buoyant form, unbeaten in seven league outings.
And number eight was on the cards when their Tunisian defender Karim Haggui put them in front before the quarter of an hour.
But that was to be Stuttgart`s only high point as it was all one way traffic in Dortmund`s favour from then on.
Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos started the rout, drawing the hosts back level on 19 minutes, with Marco Reus`s 22nd minute contribution giving them the lead.
A second half hat-trick from Robert Lewandowski killed off the game, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang getting his name on the scoring charts with nine minutes remaining.
This silky win capped a superb end of October for Dortmund with Lewandowski`s goal sealing victory over Arsenal in the Champions League, followed by victory over Schalke in the Ruhr derby, Klopp`s contract extension until 2018 and now this Stuttgart success.
Under Klopp, they have now won 107 out of 181 league matches, just one shy of the record set by former coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who won 108 out of 208 matches and led the club to their only Champions League success in 1997.
Fixtures (kick-offs 1430 GMT unless stated)
Saturday: Nuremberg v Freiburg, Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich, Hamburg v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Eintracht Braunschweig v Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin v Schalke 04, Eintracht Frankfurt v Wolfsburg (1730 GMT)
Sunday: Augsburg v Mainz, Werder Bremen v Hannover 96 (1630 GMT)