Connect to share and comment

Football: Guardiola demands patience as Bayern close on record

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga action hosting Mainz 05 on Saturday with coach Pep Guardiola having warned his stars to accept his future decisions in the hunt for silverware.

Having gone 33 Bundesliga games unbeaten, Bayern are closing in on Hamburg's league record of 36, set in January 1983, but Guardiola has told his squad to tow the line.

With Bayern leading the Bundesliga by a point and players returning from injury, competition is set to increase, but the Spanish coach is demanding patience.

"We will only fight for the (league) title at the end of the season if every player accepts my decisions -- otherwise we will have problems," he told Bayern's magazine.

"I support those who accept them, but those who don't want to understand them will often find themselves sitting in the stands."

Traditionally a strong mid-table side, Mainz have had an erratic start to the season, winning their first three league games then losing their next four before drawing with Hoffenheim a fortnight ago.

Bayern midfielder Mario Goetze scored for Germany in Tuesday's 5-3 win over Stockholm and is back in contention for selection after an ankle injury.

Goetze is hoping for an appearance against Mainz after a long lay-off having damaged his ankle after returning from April's hamstring injury at the start of the season.

"(The Sweden game) was important for me after so long out," said Goetze."

"How long I will play for against Mainz is down to the coach.

"I'm just looking forwards and am excited about the future -- hopefully without injury."

Bayern, who host Czech side Viktoria Pilsen on Wednesday and are top of their Champions League group, are without Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri until December after he returned from international duty with a torn hamstring.

Mainz are waiting on the fitness of striker Nicolai Mueller, who has six goals this season, after the 26-year-old twisted an ankle in training on Wednesday.

Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel described the training ground accident as "one of those awful moments" and the guests need their top scorer at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen have the chance to go top of the German league on Friday when they travel to mid-table Hoffenheim.

With just a point separating the top three, second-placed Borussia Dortmund host fifth-placed Hanover 96 boosted by their injury worries having been eased by the international break.

Midfielders Nuri Sahin, Marco Reus and Jonas Hofmann all returned to training on Wednesday.

"Things aren't as bad as they could have been," said coach Jurgen Klopp, who still has Lukasz Piszczek, Sebastian Kehl, Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels on the injured list.

With Dortmund away to Arsenal on Tuesday in the Champions League, Klopp needs a moral-boosting win over Hanover.

Senegal striker Mame Diouf returned to full Hanover training on Tuesday, having torn a thigh muscle in September, and could feature at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion.

Hanover's Ivory Coast winger Didier Ya Konan is definitely out for the rest of the year after surgery on an ankle injury.

Schalke 04 warm-up for their home Champions League Group E showdown with Chelsea next Tuesday at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig.

Having picked up their first win at the eighth attempt at Wolfsburg a fortnight ago, Braunschweig will be eager to prove the three points they took at Wolves was no fluke.

Fixtures:

Friday

Hoffenheim v Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Saturday

Borussia Dortmund v Hanover 96, Bayern Munich v Mainz 05, Werder Bremen v Freiburg, Eintracht Braunschweig v Schalke 04, Eintracht Frankfurt v Nuremberg, Hertha Berlin v Borussia Moenchengladbach

Sunday

Hamburg v VfB Stuttgart, Augsburg v VfL Wolfsburg

ryj/bc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131017/football-guardiola-demands-patience-bayern-close-record