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Kirjoittaja Viesti
 Viestin otsikko: Tiedonjyviä?
ViestiLähetetty: 27.02.2004, 19:33 
Status: JäsenLiittynyt: 02.03.2003, 13:00Viestit: 1683Paikkakunta: Turku
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Bochum-Hansa Rostock
Hemmastarka Bochum har endast Stevic på skadelistan. Bönig är aktuell för spel igen efter skada. Hansa saknar skadade Kientz, Hansen och Vorbeck. Tränaren Schlünz har dock tillgång till samma manskap som 3-1-besegrade Hannover senast och lär inte göra några ändringar.

Hamburg-Bayer Leverkusen
Hamburg får klara sig utan Wicky och Hollerback som är avstängda. Dessutom finns Pieckenhagen, Maltritz , Ujfalusi och Cardoso på skadelistan. Leverkusen saknar två tunga namn, Lucio och Bastürk. Dessutom är Ponte och Sebesecn skadade och Juan avstängd. Teddy Lucic väntas spela från start.

Bayern München-Wolfsburg
Bayern har fem spelare på skadelistan: Lizarazu, Scholl, Rau, Zickler och Deisler. Bortalaget får klara sig utan Baiano.

Eintracht Frankfurt-Borussia Mönchengladbach
Keller, Tsoumou-Madza och Nascimento saknas på grund av skada hos Frankfurt. Mönchengladbach får klara sig utan Korell, Van Hout, Ojigwe, Ketelaer, Gaede och Kirch.

Werder Bremen-Borussia Dortmund
Serieledande Bremen saknar endast Magnin på grund av skada. Dortmund har Addo, Metzelder och Amoroso på skadelistan.

Köln-1860 München
Köln får klara sig utan Schindzielorz, Kennedy och Podolski som är skadade. 1860 München har Meyer, Shao, Schwarz och Santos borta.

Stuttgart-Schalke 04
Stuttgart har endast Husterer skadad. Schalke har fyra spelare borta på grund av skada: Matellan, Kmetsch, Djordjevic och Heimeroth.
Portsmouth v Newcastle United

Amdy Faye is back from suspension for Portsmouth at home to Newcastle and manager Harry Redknapp also has new signings Lomano LuaLua and John Curtis available again after they were cup tied last week.

LuaLua, on loan from Newcastle, could go into the starting line-up for his full debut if striker Ivica Mornar fails a fitness test on the groin injury.

Faye's return will mean last week's FA Cup hero Richard Hughes almost certainly reverting to the bench where Steve Stone, just back in training after reports of a stress fracture in his shin proved inaccurate, should also take a place.

Teddy Sheringham is still out with hamstring trouble and defender Dejan Stefanovic must have a scan on Monday to discover the full extent of a worrying foot injury. Gary O'Neil is also out after aggravating an ankle problem.

Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson will assess his injury victims before setting off on the long trip tothe south coast.

Jonathan Woodgate remains a doubt as he battles to recover from a groin problem, while midfielder Darren Ambrose picked up a muscle strain in yesterday's 1-1 UEFA Cup draw with Valerenga in Norway.

Preview: Blackburn v Southampton

Blackburn are without Jon Stead for the crucial Ewood Park clash with Southampton.

Stead injured a hamstring in last Saturday's dramatic defeat to Charlton and has been forced onto the sidelines.

But club captain Garry Flitcroft is expected to recover from a similar injury he sustained at The Valley. Norwegian midfielder Martin Andresen stands by for his first start should Flitcroft fail a late fitness test.

James Beattie and Fabrice Fernandes are in contention to return to Southampton's starting line-up as caretaker-boss Steve Wigley bids for his first win in the Premiership.

Beattie and Fernandes are in line for starts after impressing and scoring as second-half substitutes against Everton last weekend.

Anders Svensson and Neil McCann are out with knee and hamstring injuries while Matthew Oakley is sidelined for the rest of the season following knee ligament surgery.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Leicester, without a win in 12 Barclaycard Premiership matches, will be boosted by the return of key midfielder Muzzy Izzet for the home clash with Wolves.

The Turkish international - out of contract in the summer - has been sidelined for nearly two months with a calf problem.

Peter Canero and Billy McKinlay are also in contention after coming through reserve team action unscathed in midweek - but manager Micky Adams will have to reshuffle at the back with Ben Thatcher suspended and Gerry Taggart now at Stoke.

Wolves boss Dave Jones has an almost fully fit squad to pick from. Denis Irwin should return at right-back in place of Mark Clyde after getting over the hip injury which ruled him out of the win over Fulham.

And Shaun Newton will be pushing for a return to the starting line-up after coming through a reserve game on Tuesday following an ankle injury.

Nathan Blake is the only definite absentee as he continues to recover from the neck problem which has ruled him out for six weeks.

Preview: Fulham v Manchester United

Fulham's young left-back Adam Green will be pitched in for the biggest match of his fledgling career against Manchester United at Loftus Road.

Green, who has made just four first team appearances, will line up in defence due to Carlos Bocanegra's three-match suspension for his horror tackle on Aston Villa's Mark Delaney a fortnight ago.

Ian Pearce is available after being cup tied for Tuesday's 3-0 FA Cup victory at West Ham but Lee Clark remains doubtful with his Achilles injury.

Facundo Sava (calf), Collins John and Jerome Bonnissel (both ankle) are all still out.

Sir Alex Ferguson must weigh up another tricky defensive selection dilemma for the trip to west London.

Gary Neville begins a four-match domestic ban, so Ferguson must decide whether to recall John O'Shea or bring Roy Keane back from midfield to partner Wes Brown.

Ferguson reported a few bumps and bruises from Wednesday's Champions League defeat to Porto, with a recurrence of Louis Saha's calf problem threatening the Frenchman's return to Loftus Road.

Match preview: Bolton v Middlesbrough

Jay-Jay Okocha, Bruno N'Gotty and Nicky Hunt are expected to return to the Bolton starting line-up in the Carling Cup final against Middlesbrough.

The trio were all given a rest and named on the bench last weekend when the club were defeated 3-1 by Manchester City.

Emerson Thome and Stelios Giannakopoulos are available again at the Millennium Stadium after suspension and a hamstring injury respectively.

John Otsemobor and Steve Howey are cup-tied.

Middlesbrough defender Franck Queudrue returns to the squad after completing a one-match suspension.

Stuart Parnaby deputised at left-back in last Saturday's Premiership defeat at Newcastle, but the Frenchman is expected to resume.

Gareth Southgate is in line to make the 600th appearance of his career, while Dutch midfielder George Boateng will reach 250 league and cup games during his time in England if selected.

Steve McClaren is bidding to win Boro's first major trophy in the club's 128-year history, and earn their first foray into European competition.

McClaren was quick to deflect praise for his work so far at the Riverside Stadium, and praised his staff and players for their work under his tenure.

"People keep asking me about what we've been doing this week, but it isn't about what we've been doing this week, it's about what we've been doing for the past two-and-a-half years," he said.

"This final is the culmination of all the hard work, the ups and downs.

"On Saturday against Newcastle, you look at the two teams now and you look at the two teams when we first played them two-and-a-half years ago and you can see the improvement that we've made, and that improvement has culminated in a chance to win a trophy.

"There have been many critics over those two-and-a-half years and many ups and downs. We had a bad start to this season, but all that work, the players deserve it and the staff around the players, especially the coaches, the masseurs, the kit people, the admin people.

"It's a great occasion for the club."

Whoever wins on Sunday, it will be the first time an English manager has won a major domestic trophy in this country since Brian Little's Aston Villa won the Coca-Cola Cup in 1996.

Bolton got to the League Cup final in 1995 but lost to Liverpool - and Sam Allardyce is determined to break that run.

"This time around we have to make sure we go one step further and bring that trophy back to the Reebok Stadium," he said.

"Let's hope the nerves don't kick in. It would be a major achievement to lift this cup and secure a place in Europe."

Preview: Man City v Chelsea

Manchester City defender Daniel van Buyten is set to return to the side against Chelsea.

Van Buyten, on loan from Marseille, missed the victory against Bolton after suffering a groin injury while on international duty with Belgium.

Joey Barton and Paul Bosvelt are available again after being freed from suspension.

Adrian Mutu is set to return to the Chelsea squad after missing Wednesday night's Champions League victory in Stuttgart with a thigh injury.

Damien Duff could earn his first start of the year after coming off the bench in Germany.

Preview: Leeds v Liverpool

Leeds striker Mark Viduka returns to the starting line-up for the visit of Liverpool after serving a one-match suspension.

Viduka was ruled out of last Saturday's draw at Manchester United after Fifa invoked the five-day rule following his failure to turn out for Australia in a friendly against Venezuela.

Paul Robinson takes over from Scott Carson between the posts after he also missed the game at Old Trafford due to a one-game ban.

Liverpool will be without Florent Sinama-Pongolle (ankle), Emile Heskey (back), Vladimir Smicer (Achilles) and Salif Diao (calf).

All four players missed Thursday's Uefa Cup third round first leg defeat of Levski Sofia at Anfield.

Liverpool have won only one of their last five league games - claiming six points from the 15 available.

Preview: Arsenal v Charlton

Ashley Cole and Gilberto Silva both face fitness tests ahead of the home game with Charlton.

The pair missed the trip to Celta Vigo with back and ankle injuries respectively.

Dennis Bergkamp, who did not travel to Vigo, is expected to return in place of Jose Reyes, but Sylvain Wiltord, Ray Parlour and Jeremie Aliadiere are still absent.

Charlton's Jon Fortune is ready to step in for the suspended Chris Perry.

Mark Fish is likely to recover from a knock to partner him in defence.

Jerome Thomas could make his debut from the bench, but Kevin Lisbie (back), Gary Rowett and Richard Rufus (both knee) are still sidelined.

Preview: Everton v Aston Villa

Everton have doubts over Alan Stubbs and Francis Jeffers for the home game with Aston Villa.

Everton, who have gone nine games without a win, have Stubbs and Jeffers both suffering from groin problems, although the pair have trained.

With David Weir and Richard Wright both still out as they recover from knee injuries and Li Tie (fractured shin) missing for the season, boss David Moyes has limited options.

Duncan Ferguson has recovered from a slight back problem and can be expected to captain the side as he did in the 3-3 draw at Southampton.

Aston Villa's major concern is Gareth Barry who is struggling with a groin strain, with Peter Whittingham on standby to step in.

Ronny Johnsen is expected to be fit after a dead leg, with Mark Delaney (foot) the only long term casualty.
Preview: Crewe v Stoke

Crewe manager Dario Gradi is expected to recall Billy Jones to his starting line-up for the game against Stoke.

Jones is likely to come in for Adie Moses, who sustained a hamstring injury during the midweek defeat against Sheffield United.

Gradi has no other injuries or suspensions to worry about.

Gerry Taggart should go straight into Stoke's starting line-up after signing on a free from Leicester.

There are doubts surrounding the fitness of midfield duo John Eustace and Lewis Neal, along with Clive Clarke and Gifton Noel-Williams.

Ed de Goey is available again but is not a definite starter after Neil Cutler impressed in goal when he came in against Wigan last week.

Preview: Sunderland v Norwich

Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy will welcome two players back to his squad for the game against Norwich at the Stadium of Light.

Darren Byfield will be available again after he was cup-tied for the FA Cup victory over Birmingham during the week, while Jason McAteer should be fit after missing the game with an ear infection.

McCarthy must decide whether to stick with the strike force of Kevin Kyle and Marcus Stewart or give FA Cup hero Tommy Smith a starting berth.

Norwich boss Nigel Worthington is likely to name an unchanged team for the fifth successive game.

The First Division leaders are unbeaten in five games, meaning Worthington is unlikely to tinker with his starting line-up despite the visit of second-placed West Brom to Carrow Road on Tuesday.

Apart from Zema Abbey's knee-ligament injury and a slight thigh strain for Mark Rivers, Worthington has everyone else fit.

Preview: Millwall v Burnley

Mark McCammon has been robbed of the chance to make his first start for Millwall this season by illness.

McCammon has just recovered from a long-term knee injury and was favourite to replace the suspended Danny Dichio against Burnley, but the former Brentford striker has been ruled out with swollen glands.

Neil Harris will start up front alongside Paul Ifill or John Sutton, but midfielder David Livermore is serving a one-match ban.

Everton striker Nick Chadwick will not be involved after his latest loan move to the New Den was delayed until next week.

Paul Weller and Tony Grant are suspended for Burnley, leaving Stan Ternent's squad down to the bare bones.

Weller starts a three-game ban for his sending-off against the Lions in the FA Cup, while Grant sits out one game for being booked five times.

Reading v Sheffield United

Paul Brooker is expected to be on the bench for Reading when they entertain Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium.

The 27-year-old Leicester midfielder has completed his loan move but boss Steve Coppell is unlikely to throw him straight in to the starting XI.

Adie Williams will return to the heart of defence but defender Steve Brown, midfielder Kevin Watson and striker Nicky Forster will all miss the game because of injury.

New signing Sasa Ilic could go straight into Sheffield United's squad.

The 31-year-old goalkeeper has signed a deal to keep him at Bramall Lane until the end of the season in time to be included, and could take a place on the bench.

Striker Andy Gray is also expected to be included at the Madejski Stadium after joining United for an undisclosed fee from Bradford.

Nottingham Forest v Bradford City

Nottingham Forest manager Joe Kinnear is sweating on the fitness of goalkeeper Darren Ward ahead of his side's City Ground clash with Bradford.

Ward was forced out of Forest's goalless draw with Gillingham in midweek after suffering a back spasm and the 29-year-old faces a fitness test.

Defender Matthieu-Louis Jean continues to be troubled by a rib injury, while a sciatic nerve problem - affecting the back and hamstring - is expected to keep midfielder Gareth Williams on the sidelines.

Bradford boss Bryan Robson could be without on-loan striker Alun Armstrong, who is rated 50-50 by the Bantams chief after suffering a thigh strain.

Robson has also seen forward Andy Gray depart for Sheffield United for an undisclosed fee, and his attacking options will be limited.

But the club have agreed terms with West Brom to keep Ronnie Wallwork on loan for a further two months and he should start.

Preview: Wigan v Walsall

Andy Liddell should return to Wigan's starting line-up when Walsall visit.

The 30-year-old recently lost his place in the side to Gary Teale, who then broke his collarbone and will be out for up to eight weeks.

Mike Flynn will not make the squad due to a knee injury, but Leighton Baines returns following a one-game ban and will vie with Steve McMillan for the left-back slot.

Walsall manager Colin Lee faces a midfield selection headache ahead of the trip to the JJB Stadium.

Darren Wrack is rated 50-50 as he continues to struggle with an Achilles' tendon injury, while Vinny Samways has a thigh strain.

Jamie Lawrence (hamstring) is doubtful and Paul Merson is unavailable as he is still receiving counselling abroad for "addictive problems".

Preview: West Ham v Cardiff

West Ham have defensive problems to contend with for the visit of Cardiff.

Christian Dailly needed 14 stitches to a head wound during Tuesday's FA Cup replay defeat to Fulham and is a major doubt, while Tomas Repka missed the game through illness and is also struggling.

Jon Harley, Nigel Reo-Coker, Adam Nowland, Jobi McAnuff and Bobby Zamora all return after being cup-tied in midweek.

Steve Lomas will also be in the squad after making his first appearance at Upton Park this season as a substitute against the Cottagers.

Cardiff striker Alan Lee is poised to start a First Division game for the first time in almost three months.

The forward will play from the off should Peter Thorne fail to recover from the foot injury he sustained in last week's 4-0 victory over Sunderland at Ninian Park.

Preview: West Brom v Rotherham

West Brom goalkeeper Russell Hoult returns to first-team contention just three weeks after falling victim to what had looked to be a season-ending back injury.

Hoult has not featured for the Baggies since the 3-0 defeat at Preston earlier this month, but boss Gary Megson has hinted he may return against Rotherham.

Scott Dobie and Larus Sigurdsson - both of whom have been sidelined by long-term knee injuries - have returned to training.

Rotherham boss Ronnie Moore will be able to select from the same group of players that suffered an agonising last-minute defeat to Millwall on Tuesday.

Martin McIntosh has returned to training following ankle and knee injuries but is unlikely to feature, with Rob Scott a certain absentee with cruciate knee ligament damage.

However, Scott has started running again and is edging closer to a return.

Preview: Watford v Wimbledon

Watford boss Ray Lewington will stick with a winning team for his side's clash with Wimbledon following back-to-back victories over Walsall and Preston.

Heidar Helguson is still suspended, while Hameur Bouazza remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

Danny Webber is back in training after a shoulder problem but will not be risked, while Marcus Gayle is ruled out by a hamstring strain.

Wimbledon's Dean Holdsworth is ruled out after being told he needs surgery to repair damaged cartilage.

Mark Williams is still suspended so Nico Herzig should resume his defensive duties.

Wade Small is struggling with a toe injury while Wayne Gray is rated 50-50 with a thigh strain.

Paul Heald has been forced to retire after failing to overcome the knee injury which has sidelined him since November.

Preview: Ipswich v Preston

Pablo Counago is set to return to Ipswich's starting line-up for the Portman Road clash against Preston.

The Spaniard is expected to replace the Shefki Kuqi after impressing as a second-half substitute at Burnley last week.

Chris Bart-Williams (back) trained on Thursday and manager Joe Royle will make a late decision on his possible return.

Craig Burley could make his first start for Preston against the Tractor Boys.

However, Brian O'Neil has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury, while Dickson Etuhu (ankle) faces another couple of weeks on the sidelines.

Craig Brown cannot recall Eric Skora from his loan spell at Kilmarnock and Paul McKenna remains doubtful with an ankle problem.

Preview: Coventry v Derby

Coventry manager Eric Black will be forced to reshuffle his defence for the clash with Derby.

Andy Whing, Dean Gordon and Steve Staunton have all been ruled out with hamstring injuries, while Martin Grainger faces a late fitness test after suffering a groin problem.

However, Black welcomes Calum Davenport back into his squad after a one-game suspension.

Derby defender Rob Edwards has been struggling with a groin problem but returned to light training on Thursday, and requires a late fitness test.

Jamie Vincent has already been ruled out by a hamstring injury meaning either Richard Jackson or Paul Boertien will step in.
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Preview: Blackpool v Plymouth Argyle

Blackpool welcome back Richie Wellens, Scott Taylor, Danny Coid and Richard Walker for the visit of Plymouth.

All four were absent for the Seasiders' midweek LDV Vans Trophy Northern Area final win over Sheffield Wednesday.

Wellens, Taylor and Coid were all suspended, while Walker was cup-tied.

Plymouth are set to be boosted by the return of Marino Keith, whose twisted ankle has ruled him out since early February.

Jason Bent, who has played in three reserve matches since recovering from a knee injury, is back in first-team contention.
Werder Bremen v Borussia Dortmund: Preview

BREMEN, February 27 (Bundesliga) - Thomas Schaaf's Werder Bremen are hoping to extend their 12-match unbeaten record against resurgent bogey-side Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Dortmund have proved a tough nut to crack for Bremen in recent years - the Bundesliga title challengers only managing one win in the last seven meetings between the two, picking up just a point in their last three encounters at the Weserstadion.

Schaaf's side are still in pole position in the title race. Despite only drawing with Schalke last week, they are still seven points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga and go into the Dortmund game missing only Ludovic Magnin (thigh).

With this campaign's honours still to be decided, Schaaf has already turned his attention to next season.

It has been confirmed that Brazilian defender Gustavo de Da Nery will join on a four-year deal from FC Sao Paulo in the summer, while Kaiserslautern striker Miroslav Klose is expected a complete his transfer to Bremen imminently.

Meanwhile, Greek international forward Angelos Charisteas is unhappy at his lack of first-team football and has threatened to leave the club in the summer, but the league leaders have decided he will not leave until his contract expires in 2006.

Cash-strapped Dortmund have restored their confidence with three straight wins and travel to Bremen full of confidence.

The run has seen Matthias Sammer's side move to within two points of a UEFA Cup place and five points off third-placed Stuttgart.

``We've regained our touch at the top,'' defender Christian Worns said. ``Now we just have to take care of business.''

However they take on the runaway Bundesliga leaders without long-term injury victims Otto Addo, Christoph Metzelder and Marcio Amoroso,

Hamburg SV v Bayer Leverkusen: Preview

HAMBURG, February 27 (Bundesliga) - Hamburg coach Klaus Toppmoeller, who took Bayer Leverkusen to the Champions League final in 2002 before leaving the club last season under a cloud, entertains his old club on Saturday - with both sides struggling with lengthy injury lists.

But Toppmoeller is determined to taste success with his new side, who are currently in ninth place after losing 1-0 at Bayern Munich last weekend - even if it must be achieved on a shoestring.

``We can't pull off major transfers, and people who expect them are far from reality,'' said Toppmoeller.

``But I want to prove that we can make something happen with very little money.''

If Hamburg are to mount a surge for the European places, they will have to begin it without Marcel Maltritz (foot), Martin Pieckenhagen (leg), Rudolfo Cardoso (groin) and Tomas Ujfalusi (rehab) as well as Bernd Hollerbach and Raphael Wicky, who will miss the game through suspension.

Meanwhile Leverkusen, who are fourth but have taken just one point from their last four games and now languish 13 points behind Bundesliga leaders Werder Bremen, have faced criticism from their business manager Reiner Calmund, who admitted the side are ``in the middle of a crisis''.

``I've pitied my team six times now but that's enough. There are many possible scenarios as to how we will deal with this situation,'' he said, giving rise to speculation over imminent transfers or wage cuts.

Coach Klaus Augenthaler is still missing Juan (suspension), Lucio (leg), Robson Ponte (rehab) and Yildiray Basturk (calf), which could see him start with three strikers and hand a recall to out-of-form defender Diego Placente.

But Augenthaler is confident his side can turn the corner.

``The squad has responded well to criticism and we're ready to make something happen on the pitch,'' he promised.

VfL Bochum v Hansa Rostock: Preview

BOCHUM, February 27 (Bundesliga) - Bochum entertain Rostock on a high after convincing back-to-back wins over Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.

Peter Neururer's side are well clear of their expected relegation fight and find themselves in fifth place and three points short of the Champions League positions thanks to their form since the return from the winter break.

Bochum they are level with league leaders Bremen as the form team of 2004, with both having taken 10 points from their four games.

``It's sensational that we could already avoid the drop after 22 rounds,'' Neururer said. ``The Intertoto Cup has become realistic but we won't set higher goals now.''

Miroslav Stevic (calf) is on the injured list ahead of Rostock's visit, while Philipp Bonig has overcome cartilage problems and looks a likely starter. Striker Mamadou Diabang is also set for a return.

Meanwhile, Juri Schlunz's Rostock travel to the Ruhr Stadium on a high after last week's 3-1 win over mid-table Hannover moved them up to 10th in the Bundesliga and six points clear of the drop zone.

Martin Max scored twice to take his season's total to 14.

``If someone had suggested I would score so many goals for Rostock I would have definitely called him a mad man,'' he said.

Striker Marco Vorbeck has returned to training following a virus, which has kept him out since January, although he is not expected to feature against Bochum.

Ankle injury victims Jochen Kientz and Kevin Hansen also both miss the trip to Bochum.

Bayern Munich v VfL Wolfsburg: Preview

MUNICH, February 27 (Bundesliga) - Bayern Munich will look to build on their impressive display against Real Madrid in midweek and keep their Bundesliga title challenge on the rails with the visit of one of the league's worst travellers, Wolfsburg.

Jurgen Rober's Wolves have won just once on the road this season and will not be looking forward to facing a rejuvenated Bayern side buoyed by a good performance against the Spanish champions in the Champions League.

However, the legacy of Tuesday night's 1-1 draw has affected Ottmar Hitzfeld's team selection, with French full-back Bixente Lizarazu picking up a thigh strain that has forced him out of Saturday's game.

Bayern's reserve full-back Tobias Rau is still about a week short of making his own comeback from injury, leaving youngster Christian Lell the only recognised left full-back on the books.

Hasan Salihamidzic, who deputised for Lizarazu in the second half on Tuesday, would have taken his place had he not been forced out himself with a flu virus on Thursday, meaning Lell is likely to play unless Owen Hargreaves switches from his usual place in midfield to fill the void.

Another option could see Sammy Kuffour move out wide, as he did in several warm-up games earlier in the year, with Martin Demichelis moving back into defence and Jens Jeremies coming into the midfield.

Despite those concerns, Hitzfeld should otherwise name an unchanged side after Demichelis overcame a sore ankle to train as normal on Wednesday, although Claudio Pizarro will face a late fitness test on his ankle with Roque Santa Cruz ready to deputise.

Former Bayern Munich defender Pablo Thiam could make a return to the Wolfsburg squad after missing the last two games through injury. The 30-year-old was back in training on Wednesday and will be tested again in Friday's final training session before a decision is made on his inclusion.

Rober is aware of the dangers his side face in the Olympic Stadium after seeing the Bayern of old return on Tuesday night.

He said: ``FC Bayern are back to their best. The team played against Real Madrid like we know them from the old days.

``It's going to be hard but maybe we can get something.''

In their last game, Wolfsburg overcame Bayern's city rivals 1860 to end a run of three consecutive defeats in 2004 and a double over Munich opposition would re-establish Wolfsburg in the pack chasing a UEFA Cup place.

Cologne v TSV 1860 Munich: Preview

MUNICH, February 27 (Bundesliga) - 1860 Munich have been dragged into the relegation scrap and so critical is their situation that they might slide into the bottom three on Saturday.

Last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Wolfsburg saw the team continue their drop towards the foot of the table.

Their hosts on Saturday, Cologne, go into the weekend seven points behind 1860, and are bottom of the table.

But a defeat for 1860, combined with unfavourable results elsewhere, could see the Bavarians enter the relegation zone and the hosts climb to within four points of them.

Whereas expectations were high at 1860 before the season, that was not the case with Cologne whose season was always likely to come down to a survival battle.

The 1860 coach, Falko Gotz, has come under pressure during the week, particularly from the club's president Karl-Heinz Wildmoser who admitted that a turnaround in the team's fortunes is imperative.

Gotz was keen to suggest that the pressure is greater on Cologne than his own side, despite reports of a rift between himself and the president.

He said: ``Both teams are under pressure but we're in a better situation. Would you want to be in Cologne's skin?

``The fact is, we have a great opportunity on Saturday to improve our situation considerably and we have to fight for that with all our might.''

Veteran midfielder Gerhard Poschner, who was also the target of criticism from Wildmoser this week, may have to make way for the returning Roman Tyce, while a question mark hangs over the fitness of Andreas Gorlitz.

Should the young full-back not recover in time, Harald Cerny should take his place, while new signing Fernando Santos will miss his third consecutive game with an ankle injury.

Cologne will be looking to end a run of three defeats, while 1860 will hope to avoid coming away from the RheinEnergie Stadium with that same disappointing record.

The home side's coach, Marcel Koller, has been allowed to run the club without too much pressure from the boardroom since he took over from Friedhelm Funkel in October.

And the Swiss coach is likely to hold onto his job, even if Cologne make a swift return to the second division in May.

However Koller, who led Grasshoppers Zurich to the Swiss championship last year, is not thinking about relegation.

Instead, he is confident that Cologne can build on the performance against Dortmund last weekend, when his team lost 1-0 but acquitted themselves well.

``We've got a game and we need confidence to be able to win games. We can't hang our heads. Dortmund is history,'' said Koller.

``Now we have more games to come and we need to build up our energy again.

``We need the three points and I don't think we need to look at the opponent.''

Mustafa Dogan is back in the Cologne squad after serving his suspension, but young striker Lukas Podolski is unavailable after tearing a calf muscle against Dortmund.

Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia M'gladbach: Preview

FRANKFURT, February 27 (Bundesliga) - Borussia Monchengladbach coach Holger Fach has made light of Eintracht Frankfurt's impressive recent run and insists that it will have no bearing on Saturday's match between the teams at the Waldstadion.

Since the winter break ended in late January, Frankfurt have won twice and drawn their other two matches to move to the brink of escaping the relegation zone.

They seek another victory on Saturday against a `Gladbach team who have just two points since the resumption.

Just one point separates the teams, with `Gladbach safe for now.

Fach said: ``Frankfurt ride a nice streak into the match, but every team from the lower regions have had winning streaks in the past.

``Our goal is not just to leave Eintracht behind, but to leave three teams behind us at the end of the season.''

Last weekend saw Willi Reimann's Frankfurt beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 away from home.

Du-Ri Cha netted his first goal for Eintracht and winter signing Ioannis Amanatidis grabbed a second-half winner.

Home supporters are expectant, and there is only likely to be one team change, with attacking midfielder Cha a doubt due to a shoulder injury. Stefan Lexa is his likely replacement.

Jens Keller, Jean Tsoumou-Madza and Nascimento remained sidelined but all three are working their way back to full fitness after recent injuries.

Uwe Bindewald and Andre Wiedener have overcome injuries and return to the bench.

Gladbach were facing a likely defeat last week when they fell 2-0 behind at home to Freiburg, but they recovered to scrape a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Tomislav Maric and Joonas Kolkka.

A flu virus has hit Gladbach's training ground, ruling Joris van Hout and Maric out of the relegation six-pointer at Frankfurt.

There are doubts over Jeff Strasser and Igor Demo, while Steffen Korell (knee) remains on the injured list.

Arie van Lent is expected to partner Vaclav Sverkosin attack while Peer Kluge and Real Madrid defender Rubon will figure in Fach's rearguard.

Betis Sevilla v FC Sevilla: Preview

SEVILLE, February 27 (Primera Liga) - Real Betis winger Joaquin Sanchez has urged the club to end Sevilla's dominance in their derby encounters when the two sides meet on Saturday.

And the Spanish international admits he would rather beat their opponents now than in the final standings at the end of the season.

``This year I want to win the derby above everything else and I would rather win this than finish above them in the table,'' Joaquin said.

``And this is not only for us. I was driving my car into a garage the other day and a fan came in front of me and pleaded with me to win the derby.

``The fact is that for the fans the derby is very important.''

However, Joaquin is aware Sevilla will still be tough opponents on Saturday despite the loss of young striker Jose Antonio Reyes to Arsenal.

``He was the basic element of their counter-attacking play but even without him they are still an uncomfortable team to play against,'' Joaquin continued.

``Sevilla are a good team but we have beaten other teams with more potential.''

Jesus 'Capi' Capitan returned to the Betis team last week in the 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao following an Achilles tendon injury and despite feeling pain afterwards he is determined to do all he can to play in the derby.

And Capi has singled out his friend and Sevilla rival Juan Luis Redondo as the biggest threat to Betis, voicing hopes he will not be on top form.

``Day by day he has become a fundamental part of the team and I hope that he doesn't have a good game,'' Capi said.

``However I always say they are a solid team first and foremost above individual players. I hope that things go well for us but from my memory of these games there has not been good football.''

Sevilla coach Joaquin Caparros has a history of providing surprises for the derby, playing Julio Cesar Baptista, Francisco Casquero and Jose Luis Marti in the centre of midfield for the home game at the El Pizjuan earlier this season.

Their aim appears to be to contain the threat posed by Joaquin, who is in excellent form at the moment, and Caparros could decide to play Alejandro Maranon in front of David Sanchez, instead of Antonio Lopez, in order to provide more cover.

MADRID, Feb 27 (Reuters) - A Celta Vigo side beset by injuries and haunted by the threat of relegation will visit Real Madrid on Sunday more in hope than expectation.

Celta and Real had wildly contrasting fortune in Champions League first knock-out round action in midweek.

Real turned in one of their worst performances of the season at Bayern Munich on Tuesday yet still managed to grab a 1-1 draw thanks to an appalling error from goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

Celta, meanwhile, outplayed Arsenal at times during their meeting in the north of Spain yet found themselves with little chance of making the quarter-finals after losing 3-2.

While Real have a five-point lead at the top, Celta are back in relegation trouble in 16th place, just a point ahead of the drop zone, after a shoddy 2-0 defeat at home to Malaga last weekend.

The continued absences of injured first-choice players such as Jesuli, Juanfran, Everton Giovanella and Gustavo Lopez will hardly help their chances against a Real side unbeaten at home all season.

'We have important players missing but we have to play our way out of this,' said coach Radomir Antic, who took over from Miguel Angel Lotina last month.

'All my players need to be aware that the situation is serious and that we need to be strong.'

While Celta face an imminent exit from Europe followed by a scrap to avoid the drop, Real are on course for a treble, with the second leg against Bayern on March 10 at the Bernabeu and the King's Cup final against Real Zaragoza a week later.

Valencia, in second place, and Deportivo Coruna, just behind and six points off the leaders, are struggling to maintain Real's furious title pace.

Real coach Carlos Queiroz has no injury worries and, with a blank week coming up, he should have no problems fielding his full-strength side.

REAL BETIS (7) v SEVILLA (10) Betis have taken 12 points from their last five games to revive their hopes of a place in Europe next season but Sevilla are also in excellent form, with three successive league wins, and this local derby looks too close to call.

VALLADOLID (14) v REAL ZARAGOZA (17) Zaragoza climbed out of the relegation places with last week's 4-1 win over Villarreal and should be confident of another success against a Valladolid side in free fall since injury deprived them of leading striker Ariza Makukula.

DEPORTIVO CORUNA (3) v BARCELONA (4) Barcelona have won five league games in a row and a sixth here on Sunday would strengthen their claims to a return to the Champions League. Edgar Davids should be back in midfield after being suspended against Valencia last weekend. Deportivo, who were solid if unspectacular in their 1-0 victory over Juventus in the Champions League in midweek, need a win to stay on the coat tails of Real Madrid in the title race.

ESPANYOL (19) v VALENCIA (2) After an unfortunate 1-1 draw at Real Madrid and a 1-0 defeat at home to Barcelona, Valencia badly need to reassert their authority at relegation candidates Espanyol. Valencia's Italian full-back Amedeo Carboni will be suspended following his red card against Barcelona.

MALAGA (11) v RACING SANTANDER (12) Malaga have escaped the relegation battle with a couple of wins and another good result here could put them back in the race for Europe.

MURCIA (20) v OSASUNA (9) Bottom club Murcia look down and out after last week's defeat against Albacete but mid-table Osasuna are also in decline after a bright start to the season and John Toshack's side will hold out some hope of getting a positive result.

REAL MALLORCA (15) v ATLETICO MADRID (6) Atletico have drifted away from the fight for a Champions League place after taking just three points from their last five games and will be wary of a Mallorca side that roared to a 3-0 win away to Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

REAL SOCIEDAD (13) v ALBACETE (18) Sociedad were lucky to get away with a 1-0 home defeat in their Champions League clash with a stylish Olympique Lyon side this week but should have fewer problems against lowly Albacete, who could have Carlos Roa back in goal after injury.

VILLARREAL (8) v ATHLETIC BILBAO (5) Villarreal will have caretaker coach Paquito in charge after the shock resignation of Benito Floro earlier this week. A tiring 2-2 draw at Galatasaray in the UEFA Cup on Thursday could take its toll against Bilbao, who are looking increasingly strong candidates for Europe.(Ananova, Soccernet,
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