Pressure on Klinsmann as Bayern seek Bundesliga form

February 27th, 2009 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern MunichHamburg, Feb 27 (DPA) Bayern Munich’s 5-0 whipping of Sporting Lisbon has silenced the critics for now but Juergen Klinsmann knows he needs a winning performance from his team against Werder Bremen Sunday.

The coach has found himself under pressure after three league defeats in four games since the winter break, leaving Bayern fourth in the table, four adrift of leaders SV Hamburg.

Mid-table Werder, last season’s runners up to Bayern, are struggling themselves after one point from the last four games and the next few matches will be crucial for Thomas Schaaf’s side.

Werder had a UEFA Cup match at AC Milan to overcome Thursday before they could focus on Bayern’s visit which will be followed by a trip to second-placed Hoffenheim.

Klinsmann side, looking to avenge a 5-2 home defeat to Werder in September, were boosted by their Champions League goal rout in Lisbon, where Italy striker Luca Toni, back from an injury break, and France midfielder Franck Ribery each bagged a brace.

“That was a scintillating display and great to watch, but I’m confident we9ll keep our feet on the ground and not read too much into today’s result,” Klinsmann said.

“We need humility and we need full concentration to get our Bundesliga position sorted out.”

Klinsmann has been forcing a swifter, more attacking game which - judging by recent frailties at the back - seems to have come at the expense of the defence.

However the coach says getting the balance right between attack and defence is something he and the team are working on constantly.

“No, I have absolutely no worries about my position but try to give my best every day,” he told ARD television when asked whether had any fears about his job.

“We are working very intensively with each other and when a negatives series like this comes along then we are extremely self-critical.”

Leaders Hamburg were also in UEFA Cup action at home to Nijmegen Thursday before facing visiting Wolfsburg at home Sunday.

Danish defender Michael Gravgaard was back in the squad despite breaking a middle finger and dislocating a little finger last weekend.

Coach Martin Jol has also forgiven Albert Streit and Jerome Boateng for a training-ground bust-up in which they had to be separated by team-mates. Boateng was suspended from training and fined but no further sanctions were planned.

“These things happen now and again. It shows that they are all fired up,” Jol said.

Hoffenheim, two points behind Hamburg, are at Borussia Dortmund who are unbeaten at home but have drawn eight of their 11 games at the Signal Iduna Park

Hertha Berlin, with one of the best home records in the league, face bottom side Borussia Moenchengladbach who have lost seven of their 10 away games.

Hertha, level with Hoffenheim, have a fitness doubt over Croatian defender Josip Simunic and are still without the injured Marko Pantelic up front and Gojko Jacar in midfield.

Sixth-place Bayer Leverkusen, beaten 2-1 at home by Hamburg last Sunday, visit lowly Hanover, mid-table Schalke 04 will be hoping to make up lost ground at Eintracht Frankfurt, while struggling sides Bochum and Energie Cottbus meet in other matches Saturday.

On Friday, Cologne face Arminia Bielefeld, while in Sunday’s remaining match second-from bottom Karlsruhe are up against VfB Stuttgart in a regional derby.

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