Bayern want silverware to remedy Madrid heartache
Defender Mats Hummels says Bayern Munich cannot afford to dwell on their Champions League exit to Real Madrid in their quest for Bundesliga and German Cup silverware.
Bayern’s controversial 4-2 second-leg defeat at Real Madrid on Tuesday, thanks largely to Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick, saw Bayern crash out of the quarter-finals 6-3 on aggregate, but they are still hot favourites to seal a domestic double.
The Bavarian giants are eight points clear and three wins short of a fifth straight Bundesliga title to maintain their iron-grip on Germany’s top tier.
German international Hummels says they need to get over their Champions League disappointment before Saturday’s league match home to struggling Mainz, who are desperate for points and battling relegation.
On Wednesday Bayern have a crunch German Cup semi-final home to Borussia Dortmund.
“We still need to get the league title under lock and key, plus we have a real cracker in the cup. That will be a highlight,” said Hummels, whose side dropped two points in last weekend’s goalless draw in Leverkusen.
Hummels, Robert Lewandowski and Jerome Boateng were all carrying knocks in Madrid and coach Carlo Ancelotti is expected to rotate before facing Dortmund.
Bayern are already without Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the rest of the season with a fractured foot.
Sven Ulreich will deputise, while Bayern are without Spain defender Javi Martinez, who has a leg knock.
Mainz were the last Bundesliga club to beat Bayern at home when they poached a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena in March 2016.
However, Martin Schmidt’s side are 15th, only avoiding the relegation places on goal difference, although they broke a five-match losing streak with a 1-0 win home to Hertha Berlin last weekend.
Schmidt does not expect Bayern to suffer a Champions League hangover.
“They have a top-class team which will challenge us. It would be fatal to hope for a tired opponent,” he said.
– Dortmund heartache –
Dortmund are also looking to heal their European heartache when they face Borussia Moenchengladbach away on Saturday.
Thomas Tuchel’s side also bowed out of the quarter-finals after losing 3-1 to Monaco in Wednesday’s return leg, but are battling for an automatic place in next season’s Champions League.
It has been a traumatic 10 days for Dortmund following last week’s bomb attack on their team bus which left defender Marc Bartra with a fractured wrist and police still hunting the culprits.
The Bundesliga’s top three finishers are all guaranteed places in the Champions League group stages and Dortmund are fourth, a point behind Hoffenheim, which carries a play-off for a Champions League berth.
Tuchel is also likely to rotate with just 50 hours between Dortmund’s Monaco defeat and kick-off in Gladbach, who are missing playmaker Raffael with a knee injury.
Second-placed Leipzig are snapping at Bayern’s heels with four straight wins before Sunday’s away match at Schalke, while Hoffenheim are at Cologne on Friday.
Just one more win will guarantee Hoffenheim European football next season having narrowly avoided relegation last term.
In contrast, Cologne have dropped out of contention for a Champions League spot with two wins in their last 10 games.
Their striker Anthony Modeste is three behind joint top-scorers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund and Lewandowski, who each have 26 league goals, in the race to be top scorer.
Fixtures (all times 1330 unless stated)
Cologne v Hoffenheim (1830)
Bayern Munich v Mainz, Hertha Berlin v Wolfsburg, Hamburg v Darmstadt, Ingolstadt v Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt v Augsburg, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund (1630)
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke v RB Leipzig (1530)
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