Lahm looks ahead to 'vital' Bundesliga opener against Greuther Furth

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm has looked to invigorate his team-mates ahead of the opening game of the season by claiming that the side must beat Greuther Furth.

The Germany international captained the Bavarians to second in the Bundesliga last season, but having seen their failure to overcome the challenge of Borussia Dortmund for the past two campaigns, the defender is now keen to wrestle back the league title.

“We have failed to win the league for two years, this year we want to focus on the Bundesliga and being Champions again,” Lahm told reporters.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash, Manuel Neuer echoed his captain’s sentiment, adding: “We will look to beat Greuther Furth on Saturday.

“We know that we need to start well, that we need three points from the opening game. We want to show everyone, from the outset that we are strong.

“We have to prove that we are the number one team in Germany.”

Bayern out to deny Dortmund from Bundesliga 50 landmark

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is expecting his club to end a two-year wait for the Bundesliga crown, and is hopeful that in the league’s 50-year anniversary, its most successful side will lift another championship.

The Bavarians hold the record for the most domestic titles in Germany with 22, but Borussia Dortmund have collected the past two crowns and go into the 2012-13 campaign with the opportunity of securing an joint-top three straight triumphs.

Rummenigge told the press: “For some teams, the league begins with pressure, but for us we know our expectations and should perform well from the start.

“We know that you can never predict what is going to happen in the first game, and that it’ll be a few weeks before we know who is challenging for the title.

“We have a good team, and experienced coach and the confidence at the club is good. We have a new sporting director [Matthias Sammer], who has great enthusiasm for the club.”

The former striker finished on a light-hearted tone, claiming that to win in the Bundesliga’s jubilee season is the main objective of Bayern this season.

“The desire to win more titles is enormous at Bayern, but we know that Dortmund share our aims,” he added.

“It seems that a battle between the giants is going to develop, and continue, over the next few years.”

Neuer: No more excuses for Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer has insisted that Bayern Munich cannot afford to miss out on the Bundesliga title once more after tasting disappointment in the last two seasons.

The Bavarians had to settle for second spot behind Borussia Dortmund in 2011-12 and were third the year before that, but the shot-stopper has stressed that they have to be ready right from the first game this time around.

“There can be no more excuses,” Neuer told reporters.

“Right from the start, we want a show of strength. And we intend to be No.1 in Germany again.”

The former Schalke star then went on to discuss this weekend’s Bundesliga opener against Greuther Furth, and he expects a difficult encounter against the newly-promoted side.

“Greuther Furth rely on desire, attitude and exceptional fitness. They’ll do everything they can to annoy Bayern,” he continued.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 15:30CET.

Greuther Furth – Bayern Munich Preview: Heynckes' troops begin Bundesliga campaign against Bavarian rivals

Greuther Furth got their season under way in disastrous fashion last week, crashing to a 2-0 defeat to third-tier Kickers Offenbach in the DFB-Pokal with two men being sent off, and coach Mike Buskens is set to make one change as they prepare for the visit of the Bundesliga’s most successful club.

Edgar Prib was one of the players to receive his marching orders in the Sparda Bank Hessen Stadion, and could be replaced by Heinrich Schmidtgal on the left-hand side of a four-man defence. The other change could see former Kaiserslautern midfielder Athanasios Petsos step in for Sebastian Tyrala to make his Bundesliga debut for his new side.

Midfielder Robert Zillner is set to miss out with a knee problem, as is defender Kevin Kraus, while striker Frank Ohandza is a long-term absentee with a broken leg. Gerald Asamoah and Christopher Nothe will lead the line, with Sercan Sararer, who turned down a move to Turkey this summer, slotting in on the right-hand side of midfield.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich are still without a number of players as they get their league campaign started. Full-backs Rafinha (ankle), David Alaba (foot) and Diego Contento (foot) remain sidelined, meaning that young midfielder Emre Can will continue as a makeshift left-back alongside more experienced defenders Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber.

In midfield, Bastian Schweinsteiger is still struggling for fitness after sustaining a pre-season ankle injury, and is likely to continue on the bench, with Toni Kroos filling his berth next to Luiz Gustavo in front of the defence. Of the usual triumvirate behind the striker, Franck Ribery has been taken sick during the week, meaning that Xherdan Shaqiri may start on the left wing.

Mario Mandzukic will continue up front after scoring three goals in his first two games since joining the club from Wolfsburg this summer as Mario Gomez continues his recovery from ankle surgery.

  • However, the Bavarian minnows had won three national championships, in 1914, 1926 and 1929, before the change in format.
  • Wolfgang Hesl, Lasse Sobiech, Zoltan Stieber, Baba Rahman, Athanasios Petsos, Baye Fall and Tobias Mikkelsen are all line to make their Bundesliga debuts for Furth.
  • The last time these two sides met was in the 2009-10 DFB-Pokal quarter-final. Louis van Gaal’s Bayern cruised to a 6-2 victory en route to winning the competition, with Thomas Muller (pictured) scoring twice.
  • Xherdan Shaqiri netted his first goal for his new club in last weekend’s 4-0 drubbing of another Bavarian team, Jahn Regensburg. He is set to make his first start since his summer move from Basel.
  • The last time Die Roten went three seasons without winning a Bundesliga title was between 1990-91 and 1992-93. They pipped Kaiserslautern to the 1994 title by a mere point.

Rummenigge: I still don't understand how Bayern Munich lost the Champions League final

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge still struggles to understand how the Bavarians failed to beat Chelsea in the final of last season’s edition of the Champions League.

Despite having home advantage and grabbing the lead late in the game courtesy of a Thomas Muller header, the Premier League side eventually proved to be too strong for Bayern after penalties, and the former Germany star remains flabbergasted by the outcome of the encounter.

“You can only see what really happened when you look at it without emotions. I watched the Champions League final again during my holiday, and I have to admit that it was rather interesting,” Rummenigge stated to TZ.

“However, I understand even less how exactly we managed to lose this game against Chelsea. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and we didn’t grab it. We will always be reminded of this.

“You play the final in your own stadium against a team that you must beat. It was not a matter of having the chance to beat them. We simply had to beat them.

“And somehow we managed to lose the match after a penalty shoot-out.”

Bayern started the 2012-13 campaign on a high with a 2-1 DFL-Supercup win over Borussia Dortmund, while beating Jahn Regensburg 4-0 in the DFB-Pokal.

They are currently preparing for their Bundesliga opener away against Greuther Furth on Saturday.