By Marcus Christenson in Munich
FC Bayern München coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has vowed to play three forwards in the club's concluding UEFA Champions League group stage game against RSC Anderlecht on Wednesday.
These are tense times in Bavaria. Bayern must win in the Olympiastadion or they will be eliminated at the first hurdle for the second year running. With the pressure well and truly on, Hitzfeld, twice a winner of this tournament as a coach, has opted to pack his team with attacking talent.
Triumvirate to continue
Roy Makaay, Claudio Pizarro and Roque Santa Cruz all started as Bayern drew 1-1 with SV Werder Bremen at the weekend and a similar selection looks certain against Anderlecht. "
I have to make a positive statement and will play with three forwards just as we did against Bremen," said Hitzfeld.
The daring formation will place a huge responsibility on the shoulders of central midfield pair Michael Ballack and Owen Hargreaves, but Hitzfeld is confident they, and the rest of his side, will respond. "The team have come closer in recent weeks and that is why I am confident the team will reach its aims," he said.
'We are the better team'
"Why will we win?" continued Hitzfeld. "Because we are the better team, because we are playing at home and because we have to get into the quarter-finals." Put like that it sounds simple, but Bayern have only won two of their past eleven Champions League games and are currently bottom of Group A, a point adrift of Celtic FC, Anderlecht and Olympique Lyonnais.
However, goalkeeper Oliver Kahn is convinced that Bayern's big-match experience will see them through. "We have done this before and I can feel that the whole team is really focused," he said. "We know that the fans will be there for us and that is what we need." That and the fact their squad has a clean bill of health, save for the absence of defender Robert Kovac.
Visitors will attack
Anderlecht coach Hugo Broos has refuted suggestions that his team will play for a draw. "That would be the biggest mistake we could possibly make," he said. "
You can't go to Bayern and only defend. They have to win and will therefore attack, but I am sure that we will have our moments as well."
Broos added that "Bayern have the best squad in the group", before adding that he is happy with the situation his team are in: "It is great to have our destiny in our own hands. We showed at home against Bayern that we are capable of beating them but still dropped two points. Now we have to show how good we are."
Duo passed fit
Anderlecht captain Walter Baseggio and winger Christian Wilhelmsson have both recovered from minor injuries and Broos therefore has a full squad to choose from. With Ivica Mornar and Aruna Dindane almost certain to play upfront, the only question mark is whether Broos will deploy a five-man defence with Glen De Boeck as a protective shield or reinforce his midfield with Pär Zetterberg.
'Pressure on Bayern'
Either way, Broos said he was looking forward to the game as "almost all the pressure is on Bayern". He added: "For them not to qualify would be a minor catastrophe so if we can disrupt them early on and get a reaction from the crowd to that then I think we will be in a very good position."
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