Munich`s Super Mario set to face Leverkusen

Berlin: Bayern Munich hope to welcome back Mario Gomez for Saturday`s showdown with Bayer Leverkusen with the hot-shot striker looking to add to his amazing tally of eight goals in just three league games.

Gomez sat out Munich`s win at Schalke last Sunday with a groin strain, but is expected back having scored four goals against Freiburg a fortnight ago.

After a hat-trick against Kaiserslautern and a single goal against Hamburg, Gomez is well on course to finish again as the league`s top scorer this season and Heynckes is keen to have him back for Bayer`s visit to the Allianz Arena.

But Gomez is not the only one at Bayern enjoying a purple patch.

Munich have won their last eight games, without conceding a goal, thanks mainly to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but Heynckes is wary of Leverkusen, who were hammered 4-1 at home by Cologne last weekend.

"It was a slip-up," said Heynckes, who said he expected Leverkusen to produce the same battling display they produced in the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in the Champions League.

"I`m assuming Leverkusen will put in a very different display here in Munich compared to what happened against Cologne, more like their performance against Chelsea, where they let in two goals, but were otherwise excellent."

With Bayern hosting Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday, Heynckes is unlikely to risk Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who is recovering from injury.

Struggling champions Borussia Dortmund are set to be without both Germany squad members Sven Bender and Marcel Schmelzer for their must-win match at Mainz 05.

Midfielder Bender is struggling with a torn hip muscle, while defender Schmelzer is definitely out with a hamstring injury as the champions look to avoid their third straight league defeat.

Fullback Schmelzer is expected back for the Champions League group stage match at Marseille next Wednesday, but Bender faces a race to be fit.

Coach Jurgen Klopp knows his side is under pressure, especially after they lost 2-1 at Hanover last Sunday to two late goals after throwing away a 1-0 lead.

"Ideally, we will have learned from the last three minutes of Hanover for life," said Klopp, with his side already eight points behind league leaders Bayern.

"The team has developed an anger which is often needed to get out of a situation like this."

Both Schalke, who are home to Freiburg on Saturday, and Hamburg, who are at Stuttgart on Friday, will travel with interim coaches at the helm.

Bottom club Hamburg sacked coach Michael Oenning on Monday after just six months in charge with his side on one point from their first six games and reserve team coach Rodolfo Cardoso will be in charge at Stuttgart.

Ex-Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick became the second Bundesliga coach to part company with his club this week after the 53-year-old cited fatigue syndrome as his reason to stand down, also after six months in charge.

For Saturday`s home Bundesliga game against Freiburg, assistant coaches Josef Eichkorn and Markus Gisdol have stepped in until a replacement is found.

Rangnick has admitted suffering from disturbed sleep, restlessness and poor appetite, especially in the last two weeks and has been widely praised in Germany for taking the bold step to walk away, rather than risk his health.

Second-placed Werder Bremen host Hertha Berlin on Sunday with coach Thomas Schaaf saying he wants to give Bayern a fight for the title.

"We can never compete with Munich (financially), we can only fight with them in a sporting sense," Schaaf told north German newspaper the Syker Kreiszeitung, whose side flirted with relegation last season.

"In the game against them, we will try and fight more successfully than last season."


Schalke 04 v Freiburg

Mainz 05 v Borussia Dortmund

VfL Wolfsburg v Kaiserslautern

Borussia M`gladbach v Nuremberg

Augsburg v Hanover 96

Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen


Cologne v Hoffenheim

Werder Bremen v Hertha Berlin

Bureau Report

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