Munich - Bayern Munich will be out to clip the Eagles' wings as they host Eintracht Frankfurt in a rather unusual top-of-the-table clash this Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET).
"In a league of their own"
While Bayern may be used to such prestigious matches, rarely have Frankfurt been involved in such a battle. Indeed, their coach Armin Veh is disregarding the league table, which has his side down as Bayern's number one pursuant along with Schalke, and instead making it out to be another David against Goliath clash at the Allianz Arena.
"We could never normally compare ourselves with FC Bayern," said the 51-year-old. "They’ve won nine out of ten games and are playing really well. Before the season started, I'd never have thought they would be so strong. They're even better than in previous years. At the moment, it seems like they're in a league of their own."
The fact is, however, that Bayern are very much in the same league as Frankfurt - and only seven points ahead after almost a third of the campaign. A second successive defeat at home in the Bundesliga would see that gap reduced to four.
Praise for Martinez
"We haven’t done our jobs yet," said Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes. "We aren’t going to let the euphoria get to us. The fans can enjoy it far more than we can. Let’s just wait until the 34th game of the season." That is when Javi Martinez hopes to be celebrating his first Bundesliga title and, after featuring in all of Bayern’s UEFA Champions League games so far, the time is now rife for him to hold down a regular starting berth in Heynckes’ Bundesliga team.
Despite having a 40-million-euro price tag hanging around his neck, the Spaniard has proven to be a hit since arriving from Athletic Bilbao in the summer. “We’ve really hit the bulls-eye with him," said Heynckes. "He can’t do anything about his price tag. He’s only going to get better and better."
Martinez is not the only summer arrival to have made an impact in Munich, with Claudio Pizarro now vying for a place in the Bayern attack after hitting a Champions League hat-trick against LOSC Lille in midweek. With the Bundesliga's joint top-scorer Mario Mandzukic back in the frame on Saturday, Heynckes faces a tricky dilemma as to who to start up front.
The selection headache is only going to get worse for the FCB supremo next weekend as last season's top scorer Mario Gomez makes his long-awaited return from injury too. “He’s better and he’ll play on Tuesday in the reserve team for 90 minutes," revealed Heynckes. "Then we'll decide whether he returns to the squad, but the signs are very positive. He has the best scoring record in the league and is a sensational striker. We need all our players fit and it’s great when we have a competition for places.”
Bayern Munich: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Luiz Gustavo, Schweinsteiger - Müller, Kroos, Ribery - Pizarro
Eintracht Frankfurt:Trapp - Jung, Anderson, Demidov, Oczipka - Schwegler, Rode - Aigner, Meier, Inui - Occean