Hamburg – Bayern Munich: Basement boys desperate to upset Bavarians

The hosts hope a change of coach will result in a change of fortune after their worst start to a Bundesliga season but the champions are fresh from a midweek win in Europe

Joe Zinnbauer has warned Hamburg’s first-team stars that another poor performance against Bayern Munich this weekend could see them dropped.

The 44-year-old took control of the Bundesliga strugglers earlier in the week after Mirko Slomka was relieved of his duties with the club bottom after securing only one point from their opening three league matches.

There was renewed hope around the Imtech Arena after surviving via the relegation play-off last season as the likes of Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Valon Behrami, Johan Djourou and Lewis Holtby arrived.

However, there has not been a change in fortunes yet and Zinnbauer was called on to step up and replace Slomka after Hamburg’s worst start to a Bundesliga season.

Zinnbauer’s first task is working out how to stop champions Bayern and, although he insists the result against Pep Guardiola’s side is “irrelevant”, he has warned his players that they must produce a good performance or face being replaced.

“My philosophy on the pitch is to be dominant,” he said. “I enjoy being in charge.

“If things are not working in the first team I will call up players from the reserves and will take no prisoners.

“We have players in the reserves good enough to play a game at Bundesliga level.

“The problems lie in the mind. It’s about the quality of the team as a whole and not the quality of individuals. 

“We have several hundred top-flight games under our belts, which is why we have to introduce emotion to the equation.”

Hamburg’s forwards will be under pressure, given they have yet to find the back of the net in the league this season, but a match against the frugal Bayern defence may see another frustrating afternoon.

Bayern have started the Bundesliga campaign well with two wins and a draw from the opening three matches and sit second behind early leaders Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference.

Guardiola’s men scored a glut of goals – 12 to be precise – in the three meetings against Hamburg last season in all competitions, while only conceding twice.

And confidence in the Bayern camp will be high heading into this weekend after Bayern made a successful start to their Uefa Champions League campaign on Wednesday with a 1-0 home win over Manchester City.

That game saw Mehdi Benatia make his debut following his move from Roma and he is expected to continue alongside Jerome Boateng at the heart of the defence.

One player who is not guaranteed to be involved, though, is enigmatic winger Franck Ribery after he missed the midweek win through injury.

The France international made a scoring return in the league last weekend, but he remains a doubt for this trip due to requiring further treatment on a knee problem. 

Ribery 'p****d off' by persistent injury problems

The ex-France international is bitterly frustrated that he is once again out of action and has no idea when he will be fit to return

Bayern Munich attacker Franck Ribery has admitted that he is fed up with his persistent injury problems.

The 31-year-old missed this summer’s World Cup due to a back problem and then picked up a knee injury that saw him sidelined for the start of his club’s 2014-15 campaign.

Ribery did make his comeback in last weekend’s 2-0 Bundesliga win over Stuttgart, scoring once after coming off the bench midway through the second half.

However, his knee problem flared up again this week and he consequently missed the 1-0 Champions League win over Manchester City on Wednesday.

“This really p*sses me off. It is very annoying,” Ribery told Kicker. “I don’t know yet how long I will be out of action.”

Ribery, who was one of the key players in Bayern’s treble success in 2013, made 39 appearances in all competitions last season, but has had to settle for just 23 minutes of game time so far this term.

Lahm: Bayern were chasing shadows against Manchester City

The ex-Germany international feels the Premier League side were the better team early on but insisted Bayern eventually deserved their win

Philipp Lahm has admitted that Bayern Munich were chasing shadows in the opening stages of their 1-0 Champions League win over Manchester City at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

The Bundesliga champions initially struggled against City but took the initiative after Pep Guardiola made some tactical changes, eventually recording a narrow win courtesy of Jerome Boateng’s late half-volley.

“It was a bit difficult to start with because Manchester saw a lot of the ball and we were chasing shadows,” he told the club’s official website.

“But we switched things around and it was a lot better.

“We had some huge chances in the first half, and we had the better chances over the full 90 minutes. 

“We’ve played one of the best teams around and they’re very dangerous. You don’t win matches like that just by turning up. 

“We worked hard and we’re pleased with the win. We wanted to open with a win, although it’s obviously lucky when the winning goal comes so late.”

Bayern will be looking to make it two wins out of two when they face CSKA Moscow in the second round of fixtures on September 30, with the Russian side aiming to bounce back from their 5-1 mauling by Roma on Wednesday.

Robben: The only way is up for Bayern

The Dutchman has acknowledged that the Bundesliga champions still have room for improvement after their 1-0 win over Manchester City

Arjen Robben has admitted that Bayern Munich have yet to find their best form this season in the wake of their 1-0 Champions League win over Manchester City at the Allianz Arena.

The Bundesliga champions created a number of chances to open the scoring against City, but eventually needed a late Jerome Boateng strike to bag the full three points.

Robben concedes Bayern were not at their best on the night but is confident they will quickly improve their performances.

“We didn’t play as well as we can and we still need to find our rhythm, but we’re on the right track,” Robben told the official Uefa website.

“We’re working on certain things and the only way is up. We got the three points and that was the most important thing.

“Sometimes chances go in, sometimes they don’t. Not everyone who gets a chance is going to score. But there were plenty of positives, we created a lot of good opportunities.”

The Dutchman has encountered some minor fitness problems in the opening weeks of the 2014-15 campaign after an intense World Cup, but he is slowly approaching peak fitness again.

“Fitness-wise I’m doing well. I started the season really well against Wolfsburg, but after that I’ve had a few problems. They’re healing nicely, though, and hopefully soon they’ll be gone.”

Guardiola: Big hearts & graft saw Bayern past Man City

The coach was thrilled with how the Bavarians dispatched the English champions – even if they did require a late goal to give them all three points

Pep Guardiola praised his players’ versatility and “big hearts” as they found a way to beat Manchester City in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

Bayern failed to convert their superiority into goals until the final minute at the Allianz Arena when defender Jerome Boateng fired a wonderful effort through a crowded penalty area and past City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

It was hard on the English champions, but Guardiola felt Bayern got what they deserved and he singled out Rafinha and debutant Mehdi Benatia for special praise.

He told Sky: “Everybody is happy we have our first three points in this hard group. We had many chances against a very good team.

“At the start we had some problem with the possession. We then switched from three at the back to four at the back and it got better.

“You have to understand that Rafinha and Benatia have played very little recently. They played well and showed big heart. Sometimes it is the mind that makes the difference. If somebody really wants to play, he can play.”

Bayern’s win and Roma’s 5-1 demolition of CSKA Moscow mean Group E has two early pacesetters. Guardiola thinks, however, the pool will go to the final round of matches before the qualifiers are established.

“This group will be decided on the final matchday,” he said. “I told my players before this game, ‘I am not sure we will win’.

“But this is not decisive. The last match against Moscow will be decisive. There is huge pressure in this group and it helps that we took some of it away by beating a strong City team.”