Bayern travels to Wolfsburg

Bayern Munich’s last trip to Wolfsburg ended in its worst defeat in

years and paved the way for Wolfsburg’s unexpected run to the

Bundesliga title last season.

Wolfsburg’s 5-1 victory behind a pair of goals from Edin

Dzeko and Grafite was Bayern’s worst domestic humiliation in seven

years.

Wolfsburg has been unable to repeat the championship season,

however, and hasn’t won in its last eight games, dropping to 11th.

New coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner will be looking for his first

win Saturday.

Bayern hasn’t won in Wolfsburg in its last four trips there,

but is riding a seven-game winning streak in the league and is

second in the standings, two points behind Bayer Leverkusen (44).

Leverkusen is still undefeated after 20 games. The last time

a Bundesliga club had such a run was 21 years ago and it was Bayern

Munich, which won the title under Jupp Heynckes – now Leverkusen’s

coach.

Both Bayern and Leverkusen have won all three games since the

season resumed in January. Their closest challenger, Schalke, has

41 points, five more than Borussia Dortmund. The champion is likely

to come from the leading trio.

Leverkusen has a history of fading in the second half of the

season and has never won the title, with four second-place

finishes.

“The times could become harder,” said Leverkusen’s midfielder

Toni Kroos, who has been voted player of the month twice in a row

by Kicker magazine. “I could also fall into a slump.”

Defender Sami Hyypia warned his teammates not to let their

guard down.

“We can’t allow the opponent so many chances as we did Sunday

against Freiburg,” the Finnish veteran said.

Freiburg had several chances before Leverkusen scored three

goals inside four minutes for a 3-1 win.

“We have to be aggressive again, otherwise things could go

wrong for us in Bochum,” Hyypia said of the upcoming game Saturday.

Bochum is 14th and a win Saturday would lift the team further

away from the relegation zone.

Bayern announced Thursday that it had extended the contracts

of midfielder Thomas Mueller and defender Holger Badstuber, two

20-year-old players who came through its youth program and have

become regulars under coach Louis van Gaal. Both received new

contracts until 2014.

Bayern’s management still hopes to extend the contract of

French star winger Franck Ribery, who becomes a free agent after

the next season.

Ribery has said he could stay in Bayern and club chairman

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes the club’s top player will choose to

stay.

“I am optimistic, we are not without chances with Ribery,”

Rummenigge said.

The 21st round kicks off Friday with Werder Bremen hosting

bottom-place Hertha Berlin. Bremen, which went undefeated in 23

games in all competitions earlier in the season, has lost its last

five to fall to sixth.

On Saturday, it’s Cologne vs. Hamburger SV; Freiburg vs.

Schalke; Hoffenheim vs. Hannover; and Nuremberg vs. Stuttgart.

On Sunday, Borussia Moenchengladbach visits Mainz and

Borussia Dortmund hosts Eintracht Frankfurt.