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Kahn calms Bayern nerves

Published: Tuesday 22 October 2002, 21.10CET
Oliver Kahn is confident FC Bayern München can beat AC Milan and keep their hopes alive.

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Published: Tuesday 22 October 2002, 21.10CET

Kahn calms Bayern nerves

Oliver Kahn is confident FC Bayern München can beat AC Milan and keep their hopes alive.

By Marcus Christenson

FC Bayern München goalkeeper Oliver Kahn is confident his side can beat AC Milan at the San Siro on Wednesday and go on to reach the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

In good heart
Bayern arrived in Italy in good heart, having gone five points clear of their 1. Bundesliga rivals with the defeat of FC Hansa Rostock at the weekend. But while their domestic form has been characteristically dominant, they have struggled in Europe and have picked up just one point from a possible nine so far in Group G.

'We have the capability'
The Bavarians have lost at home to both RC Deportivo La Coruña and Milan, but club captain Kahn is adamant they still have a chance to progress. "We are going to Milan to win," he said. "We have the capability and we have dropped enough points already. We have eight games in four weeks now and we need to get off to a good start."

Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld is equally positive and has challenged his players to "prove they belong at the top of the European game". Hitzfeld said: "We are playing well in the Bundesliga but you can't compare that to the Champions League and especially playing away against Milan.

'Better than people think'
"We have to raise ourselves further if we want to win the game and prove that we are among the best teams in Europe. And I think we are capable of that. I am also pleased that this game is finally taking place so that we can show everyone that we are better than they seem to think."

Santa Cruz back
Bayern are without English international Owen Hargreaves because of a stiff thigh muscle but have included striker Roque Santa Cruz in a Champions League squad for the first time this season. The Paraguayan's injury problems have cleared while Michael Ballack, Willy Sagnol and Hasan Salihamidzic have all shaken off minor injuries to be included in the squad.

Milan nearly through
Milan, meanwhile, will qualify for the second stage with a victory and coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his team can defeat the Germans for a second time in three weeks. He said: "We are aware that Bayern need to win and we know that they are full of confidence because they are top of their league.

Strong finish
"But we are also playing well and have the advantage of playing at the San Siro, which will benefit us. We know that we haven't qualified for the second stage yet and we therefore need to be fully focused. We also want to finish as strongly as possible."

Inzaghi recovered
Leading scorer Filippo Inzaghi missed Sunday's 4-1 win over Atalanta BC but should be fit to resume while Rivaldo, who scored his first goal for his new club in that game, has a slight thigh strain and misses out. Ancelotti also revealed that Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko has completed his recovery from injury and could be on the bench.

Last updated: 24/10/02 9.36CET