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Wounded giants anxious for speedy recovery

Published: Friday 12 August 2011, 9.31CET
FC Bayern München and Paris Saint-Germain FC will aim to bounce back from opening-day losses while PFC CSKA Moskva are also looking to recover from defeat last week.
Wounded giants anxious for speedy recovery
Mario Gomez and Bayern had an unhappy day against Mönchengladbach last week ©Getty Images

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Published: Friday 12 August 2011, 9.31CET

Wounded giants anxious for speedy recovery

FC Bayern München and Paris Saint-Germain FC will aim to bounce back from opening-day losses while PFC CSKA Moskva are also looking to recover from defeat last week.

Germany: VfL Wolfsburg v FC Bayern München (Saturday, 15.30)
Bayern can atone for their surprise opening-day home defeat by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach when they travel to Wolfsburg, who got off to a flier with a 3-0 triumph at 1. FC Köln last weekend. That victory repaid coach Felix Magath's faith in Patrick Helmes, the striker who scored twice in Cologne. "Those goals will give me a boost," the 27-year-old said. Wolfsburg summer signing Patrick Ochs now believes his side have nothing to fear against the 22-time Bundesliga champions. "That win was very important for our morale," said the defender. "It has given us a major lift and we have no reason to be scared of Bayern. Nevertheless, it will be a very difficult match."

Russia: FC Rubin Kazan v PFC CSKA Moskva (Saturday, 16.30)
Premier-Liga leaders CSKA visit UEFA Champions League play-off contenders Rubin, who have experienced mixed fortunes on the domestic front. Kurban Berdyev's men have won just nine of their 19 games, a return which leaves them in fifth, eight points behind Saturday's opponents at the summit. However, Leonid Slutski's team have not had it all their own way, their 2-0 home loss to FC Zenit St Petersburg last weekend throwing the title race wide open. "I don't think CSKA have a point to prove, like wounded animals," said Rubin defender Roman Sharonov. "I am sure they will prepare for the game just like us. The odds are even, but we know CSKA are a very strong side and it will be tough." Both clubs have injury problems, although CSKA welcome back Kirill Nababkin from suspension and Oleg Kuzmin returns from injury for the hosts.

Wales: Bangor City FC v Llanelli AFC (Saturday, 16.45)
Bangor begin their Welsh Premier League title defence with a testing reunion with the side that ended their quest for the double – and a fourth successive Welsh Cup – courtesy of a 4-1 victory in May. With the west Wales club likely to be among Bangor's closest rivals again, Neville Powell's team will be eager to dim the memory of last month's record-breaking 13-0 aggregate defeat by HJK Helsinki in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. "Since then the lads have come together and regrouped, we have moved on," said Powell. "It's going to be tough but we're up to the challenge and we're looking forward to it." The champions will nonetheless miss the goals of Jamie Reed, now at York City FC, and experienced utility man Nick Ward, who has rejoined The New Saints FC.

Netherlands: FC Twente v AZ Alkmaar (Saturday, 18.45)
Co Adriaanse had a perfect start as Twente boss last weekend thanks to Marc Janko's penalty against NAC Breda, but faces an entirely different proposition with the visit of former club AZ Alkmaar. AZ, who reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals under Adriaanse's stewardship in 2004/05, were also victorious on the opening day, beating PSV Eindhoven 3-1. Despite Alkmaar losing last season's top scorer Kolbeinn Sigthórsson to AFC Ajax, Ruud Boymans and Jozy Altidore, who headed AZ's third goal against PSV, have given coach Gertjan Verbeek reasons for optimism. "I am happy with the first result and with the way we played," said Verbeek.

France: Stade Rennais FC v Paris Saint-Germain FC (Saturday, 19.00)
Two UEFA Europa League play-off contenders meet at the Route de Lorient with the hosts attempting to build on their emphatic 5-1 opening-day success at Dijon FCO and PSG keen to bounce back from defeat by FC Lorient. Javier Pastore, the capital club's €42m signing from US Città di Palermo, is not expected to travel to Brittany for Saturday's game, but Les Rouge et Bleu midfielder Blaise Matuidi remains in defiant mood. "There are plenty more matches to come and we have to work hard in training to play better and with more freedom," he said. "We have the quality, we just have to learn to play together."

Serbia: FK Partizan v FK Novi Pazar (Saturday, 20.00)
Novi Pazar will end an 83-year wait for their top-flight debut when they head to champions and UEFA Europa League play-off contenders Partizan. The titleholders have added defenders Ivan Ivanov and Nemanja Rnić to their squad while Stefan Savić has joined Manchester City FC. Elsewhere, runners-up FK Crvena Zvezda play FK Spartak Zlatibor voda and FK Vojvodina, who finished third last term, will hope to put their shock UEFA Europa League second qualifying round loss to FC Vaduz behind them when they take on promoted FK Radnicki Kragujevac.

All times CET

Last updated: 12/08/11 16.26CET

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