Football: Bayern target another Hamburg rout as Europe looms

Football: Bayern target another Hamburg rout as Europe looms
Bayern Munich's Lewandowski(left) and Robben(right) celebrate a goal.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich host Hamburg on Saturday in their final warm-up before Tuesday's Champions League clash away to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Despite their eight-point lead, Bayern have struggled to impress in their first three league games of 2015, but have a habit of hammering Hamburg.

Their shock 4-1 thrashing at second-placed Wolfsburg was followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Schalke 04, albeit with only 10 men for 70 minutes, before last weekend's 2-0 win at strugglers Stuttgart in a below-par display.

Coach Pep Guardiola admitted his side's display "was not our best" and added "we need to find our rhythm", while Germany star Thomas Mueller said the team need to raise their game.

"You can't just get up in the morning, say: 'today, I'm going to play outstandingly well' and it will happen. You have to make it happen," he said.

Arjen Robben is one of the few Bayern stars currently in form with the Dutchman having claimed 12 league goals in 16 matches.

But Bayern have posted some big wins over Hamburg in recent years including a 9-2 drubbing in March 2013, but will be without suspended centre-back Jerome Boateng, who will be available to face Donetsk, though.

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart is fighting for his midfield place having been hauled off at half-time of their 2-1 home win over Hanover 96 following a poor display.

His side has climbed to 12th in the table after back-to-back wins, but Munich's Allianz Arena has not been a happy hunting ground for Hamburg recently.

They have also lost 3-1, 5-0 and 6-0, on their last four visits to the Bavarian capital, but coach Joe Zinnbauer will be buoyed by their goalless draw in Hamburg in September - his first game in charge.

Real loom for Schalke

Schalke 04 will give third-choice teenage goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther only his third senior appearance against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday night in their last game before facing Real Madrid.

The Royal Blues host title-holders Real at the Veltins Arena on Wednesday in the last 16, first-leg, of the Champions League, desperate to avoid a similar scoreline to last season's record 6-1 drubbing.

In Frankfurt, Roberto di Matteo's Schalke will be without suspended striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, last season's top scorer in the Bundesliga, who is nonetheless available to face Real.

Germany winger Sidney Sam trained on Thursday after shaking off a leg injury, while Japan defender Atsuto Uchida also trained after recovering from flu.

Resurgent Werder Bremen face a tough test, having shot up from 18th to eighth in just four games, as they chase a fifth-straight win at home to fourth-placed Augsburg on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund bid to back up last weekend's impressive performance in their 3-0 win at Freiburg with another win when they host mid-table Mainz 05 on Friday.

Dortmund, who are 16th, were boosted in mid-week when Germany winger Marco Reus signed a contract extension until 2019.

It ends weeks of speculation of a possible big-money transfer to one of Europe's top sides at the end of the season, due to a release clause in Reus's old contract.

There is a basement battle on Sunday as 14th placed Hertha Berlin host second-from bottom Freiburg in Germany's capital coach Pal Dardai takes charge of his first home game for the hosts, eager to prove last weekend's 2-0 win at Mainz was no fluke.

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