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Savage Bayern line up fresh prey


Berlin (AFP) – Carlo Ancelotti’s all-conquering German league leaders Bayern Munich face a Hamburg side in turmoil on Saturday with coach Bruno Labbadia under the threat of the axe after three straight defeats.

Hamburg’s 1-0 defeat at Freiburg on Tuesday followed their humiliating 4-0 drubbing at home to RB Leipzig last Saturday.

Labbadia has been in charge since April 2015 but another uninspiring performance from his team at the hands of Ancelotti’s relentless Bayern could be his last.

It does not help that Hamburg have suffered 5-0, 8-0 and 9-2 thrashings at the hands of the Munich giants in the last three years and another drubbing could see Labbadia shown the door just five games into the new league season.

Hamburg last beat Bayern in 2009 and are winless against the Bavarian giants in their last 13 games. 

“I take the main responsibility and I’m the first to do so if we can’t decide games for ourselves,” said Labbadia after their latest reversal.

Hamburg’s defence will need to dramatically improve against Bayern’s strike force boasting Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller and Franck Ribery, who netted in Wednesday’s 3-0 win at home to Hertha Berlin.

Bayern are the only team with a perfect record in Germany’s top flight.

They want an impressive display before next Wednesday’s Champions League group stage clash at Atletico Madrid, who knocked them out in the semi-finals last year.

With seven wins from his first seven games in all competitions, Ancelotti is enjoying the best start to a season in Bayern’s highly successful history.

– Dortmund on fire –

Dortmund will be without defender Marc Bartra for Friday’s visit of Freiburg after suffering a groin injury in Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Wolfsburg and is doubtful for next Tuesday’s Champions League home game against Real Madrid.

Back-to-back wins since their shock 1-0 defeat at RB Leipzig catapulted Dortmund up the table into first before Bayern’s win over Hertha knocked them down to third.

Dortmund have banged in 17 goals in their last three games, having also trounced Legia Warsaw and Darmstadt 6-0, but Borussia coach Thomas Tuchel has warned about any complacency.

“We’re only thinking about the league table, only our next game against Freiburg,” said Tuchel.

“There are still a few things we can improve on.”

Newly promoted Freiburg have beaten Borussia Moenchengladbach and Hamburg already this season.

Schalke 04 are at Hoffenheim on Saturday with new coach Markus Weinzierl already under intense pressure after four straight defeats, including Wednesday’s 3-1 shock loss at home to Cologne, which had been dubbed a must-win game for the Royal Blues.  

Gladbach host Barcelona at Borussia Park next Wednesday, but their main priority on Saturday is seeing off Ingolstadt at home after their 1-1 draw at newly promoted RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

Bottom side Werder Bremen, who sacked Viktor Skripnik on Monday, are at home to Wolfsburg on Saturday night with caretaker coach Alexander Nouri still looking for their first points after Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at Mainz.

Fixtures (All times 1330 GMT unless stated)

Friday

Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg (1830)

Saturday

Borussia Moenchengladbach v Ingolstadt, Mainz v Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg v Bayern Munich, Augsburg v Darmstadt, E Frankfurt v Hertha Berlin, Werder Bremen v Wolfsburg (1630)

Sunday

Hoffenheim v Schalke, Cologne v Leipzig (1530)

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