Bayern shooting for 1,000 Bundesliga win vs. Cologne
BERLIN (AP) Bayern Munich can become the first club to celebrate its 1,000th Bundesliga victory when it hosts Cologne on Saturday.
Bayern had its 12-match winning streak in all competitions ended by Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday but at home it holds a comfortable seven-point lead ahead of Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund hosts Augsburg on Sunday, when Borussia Moenchengladbach welcomes Schalke for the one of the highlights of the 10th round.
Here are a few things to know ahead of the games:
Bayern claimed yet another record last weekend as it became the first side to start the Bundesliga with nine wins. Such is the side’s dominance in recent seasons that history books are providing the yardstick by which its achievements are measured.
”You take such a record with great pleasure,” captain Philipp Lahm said. ”It’s not no easy to be right there from the start of a season.”
Cologne will be no pushover. Peter Stoeger’s side is well organized, hard-working and capable of capitalizing on any lapses, such as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s that presented Arsenal with the opening goal in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat.
”When you see that Wolfsburg and Dortmund were sent home with thrashings it doesn’t instill much confidence,” said midfielder Yannick Gerhardt, referring to the 5-1 defeats for each side. ”But the game at Arsenal showed you can cause a surprise.”
Arjen Robben could make his eagerly anticipated return from injury against Cologne. The Dutch forward hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury while playing for the Netherlands in a European Championship qualifier against Iceland on Sept. 3.
”I’m well,” Robben told Kicker magazine on Thursday. ”I trained with the amateur team. If the week keeps going like this I’ll be fit and ready to play again. It looks good for Saturday.”
Bayern says Javi Martinez and Kingsley Coman were likely to have recovered from their muscular problems, while Franck Ribery was back training with a ball again as he works on his return from a long-term ankle injury.
SECOND VS. BOTTOM
Dortmund bounced back from its Bundesliga wobble – two draws and the heavy defeat at Bayern – with a hard-worked but deserved 2-0 win at Mainz last week, prompting coach Thomas Tuchel to say the side had made a ”first step in the right direction.”
Augsburg on the other hand is bottom after one draw and three defeats from its last four games.
”You can’t talk of (it being) anything but a relegation battle. We have to fully concentrate on it. It’s clear it won’t be easy,” said captain Paul Verhaegh, whose side also has Europa League football to contend with.
`GLADBACH VS. SCHALKE
It’s a remarkable turnaround. Moenchengladbach interim coach Andre Schubert has overseen four wins from four Bundesliga games since taking over from predecessor Lucien Favre. Favre quit after five defeats.
However, Schalke will provide a stern test. Andre Breitenreiter’s side is currently third, one point behind Dortmund, with seven wins from its last eight games across all competitions.
Germany youth international Leroy Sane has been particularly impressive, as has goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann, who extended his contract last week, while World Cup winner Benedikt Hoewedes’ return from injury has provided another welcome boost.
EUROPEAN NIGHTS TAKING TOLL
Champions League participants Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg have failed to impress in the Bundesliga so far. Leverkusen is already 13 points behind Bayern while Wolfsburg is only one point better off.
Leverkusen warmed up for the visit of struggling Stuttgart on Saturday with four goals in the wild 4-4 draw with Roma on Tuesday, but only eight goals in the Bundesliga make it one of worst attacking sides in the league. Only Werder Bremen and promoted Ingolstadt have scored less.
Wolfsburg defeated PSV Eindhoven 2-0 on Wednesday but its league form has been erratic with only four wins from nine games and none of those in consecutive matches.
Dieter Hecking will be hoping his side finally strings two wins together at Mainz on Saturday.
AP Sports Writer Nesha Starcevic contributed to this report.