Bundesliga weekend preview

Bayern Munich: Take on Bayer Leverkusen this weekend

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Bayern Munich must bounce back from their midweek home defeat to Arsenal by taking on the only German side to have beaten them all season this weekend.

They travel to Bayer Leverkusen with a 20-point advantage at the top of the Bundesliga and with the title practically wrapped up.

However, Leverkusen inflicted Bayern's only league defeat this season back in October and on the back of the 2-0 loss to Arsenal - which almost robbed them of a place in the Champions League quarter-finals - the weekend trip has set alarm bells ringing in Bavaria.

"We've been playing like a load of rubbish for three weeks now," said Bayern club president Uli Hoeness. This (the Arsenal defeat) was a warning. We can just be glad that we scored enough goals in London.

"We have not been playing well for weeks, be it in Hoffenheim, against Dusseldorf or last night, and if the team does not take the right consequences, then we are in trouble. We're definitely not going to win the Champions League like this."

Hoeness' remarks drew a wry smile from ZDF television pundit and former Bayern captain Oliver Kahn, who knows "all too well" how Hoeness is prone to overreacting.

"You would think they were bottom of the Bundesliga," he said.

Should Bayer complete a double over Bayern, it would still leave them 18 points adrift with eight games of the season remaining, just postponing perhaps by a week Bayern's seemingly inevitable title celebrations.

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund have also given up hope of winning the title and will be more intent on learning their next opponents in the Champions League on Friday before hosting Freiburg on Saturday.

Freiburg's charismatic coach Christian Streich then has an appointment of his own with ZDF television as their star guest discussing the day's action on Saturday night, and he will be hoping to comment on his side's return to the top six.

That is not going to be so easy, however, as he claims his Bundesliga rivals no longer view the Black Forest club as a small, provincial outfit. Just like Hoffenheim are taking the threat of relegation seriously. They will be hoping for a second straight win when they host Mainz on Saturday, and then a favour from Hamburg, who host 16th-placed Augsburg.

Bottom club Greuther Furth have already given up hope of staying up, meanwhile, and their trip to Werder Bremen is all about "going down with honour", according to their new coach Frank Kramer.

Elsewhere, Wolfsburg host Fortuna Dusseldorf in the first match of the weekend tomorrow night, Nurnberg are at home to Schalke and Sunday's games see Eintracht Frankfurt lock horns with Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach challenging fellow Europa League challengers Hannover.