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Leader Bayern faces young Leverkusen team in Bundesliga 1-2 clash

Leader Bayern faces young Leverkusen team in Bundesliga 1-2 clash

Four straight wins haven't made second-placed Bayer Leverkusen the favorite when it faces Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich on Saturday.
"We will have to improve or we don't stand a chance," Leverkusen coach Michael Skibbe said.
Skibbe will line up six players age 23 or younger alongside Germany veteran Bernd Schneider.
Skibbe said his team was outplayed when it beat FC Nuremberg 2-1 Wednesday and owed the victory to goalkeeper Rene Adler. Another 22-year-old, Tranquillo Barnetta, scored the winning goal in the 76th minute.
Germany forward Stefan Kiessling got his fourth goal in three games.
"We played terribly, but you have to win these games to stay at the top," said Kiessling, 23. "We're still young and have a lot to learn."
Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has no doubts about his team.
Bayern routed last-placed Energie Cottbus 5-0 Wednesday, which followed a 4-1 defeat of Karlsruher SC. France international Franck Ribery and Italy forward Luca Toni lead several newcomers that have had a huge impact.
Miroslav Klose, the leading scorer at last year's World Cup who joined from Werder Bremen, has got off to the best start of all. His hat trick Wednesday gave the forward eight goals in seven rounds.
"You can only shine when the team functions together, and that's the case at the moment," Klose said. "It's best not to speak about these things too much or we'll lose the high."
Toni Kroos, who impressed in his debut Wednesday as Bayern's youngest player ever at 17 years, 8 months, will not play.
Kroos will be sent back to Bayern's amateur team, despite sending two crosses to Klose for goals against Cottbus.
"I'm happy he had two assists _ Toni Kroos is one of the biggest German talents," Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said.
Leverkusen has been rebuilt by Skibbe and sports director Rudi Voeller, the duo who coached Germany to the 2002 World Cup final which it lost to Brazil 2-0.
The defense has been the centerpiece of the team, allowing just three goals to tie Bayern as the league's best defense. It's headed by Germany player Manuel Friedrich and the much-improved Tunisian international Karim Haggui.
Third-placed Schalke will try to make it three straight wins against fifth-placed Hertha Berlin.
"We want to establish ourselves at the top," Schalke coach Mirko Slomka said.
Defending champion VfB Stuttgart faces Hansa Rostock as it tries to get out of a slump. Despite a 1-0 win against VfL Bochum Tuesday, Stuttgart still hasn't shown last season's form.
"I don't care about attractive football, I just want the wins right now," Stuttgart coach Armin Veh said.
In other games, it's: Bremen vs. Arminia Bielefeld; Hamburger SV vs. VfL Wolfsburg; Bochum vs. Nuremberg; Karlsruher vs. Borussia Dortmund; Hannover 96 vs. Duisburg; and Cottbus vs. Eintracht Frankfurt.


Updated : 2021-10-21 19:02 GMT+08:00