Wednesday's DFB Cup elimination has made Bayern fans restless, despite last week's Champions League trouncing of Lisbon. For Juergen Klinsmann, Saturday's match against Hanover 96 is a big test.
Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann faces increased criticism in Munich
One win in five Bundesliga matches is not enough to satisfy the high demands of soccer fans in Munich, and now that Bayern is out of the running for the DFB Cup, speculation is rife about the future of Juergen Klinsmann, who has held the head coaching position at Bayern for just eight months.
Despite an enthusiastic welcome at the beginning of his post in Munich, the tides have quickly turned for Klinsmann following a 4-2 loss to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday that eliminated Bayern from the DFB Cup. Klinsmann's team must come up with a win this weekend if he hopes to quiet discussions concerning his job.
Hope not lost
Will Bayern be able to repeat the 2008 Bundesliga triumph?
Even with Bayern's poor performance in the Bundesliga and the dashed hopes of winning the DFB Cup, there are still plenty of opportunities for Bayern to turn things around.
They are within striking distance of the top spot in the Bundesliga from their current fifth place position, and after beating Sporting Lisbon 5-0 last week in Portugal, Bayern has virtually locked a spot in the quarterfinal of the Champions League.
Club Manager Uli Hoeness was eager to draw attention to these possibilities this week.
"I still feel that our present position is not that bad," he said. "It makes no sense to start pounding the players. We must motivate them to meet our Bundesliga and Champions League goals. The two biggest aims are still in sight."
Although Bayern has won both the DFB Cup and the Bundesliga title three of the last four seasons and is currently playing well in the Champions League, Hoeness cautioned against expecting too much.
“You can't be so arrogant to think that a team is going to win all three every year,” he says. “We need to stay calm and take care of what's ahead.”
A challenge in Hanover
Defender Philipp Lahm is set to return for Bayern this weekend against Hanover
Hanover 96 beat Bayern 1-0 in the first half of the season, which does not help bolster confidence in Munich for Saturday's match. Despite playing at home, Klinsmann must still overcome potential holes in his roster come kick-off.
Midfielders Franck Ribery, Tim Borowski, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, as well as striker Luca Toni, are all doubtful to play on Saturday due to injury. Team captain Mark van Bommel is definitely out with a suspension due to an accumulation of five yellow cards.
The one bright spot for Klinsmann is the likely return of defender Philipp Lahm, who has been recovering from an illness.
One thing is certain for Klinsmann, no matter who ends up on the pitch Saturday: Bayern has got to play more consistently in the Bundesliga.
"This team has shown its quality," says Klinsmann. "We've played some great matches in the Champion's League. The players are really caught up in the Champion's League, but they can't lose sight of their duties in the Bundesliga. We've been coming up a bit short in the Bundesliga lately, and you can't win when you're only giving 95 percent."
A visit ends
Saturday's match against Hanover marks the final day of American Landon Donovan's short stint with Bayern. Donovan has been on loan to Bayern from the Los Angeles Galaxy, his home club in the MLS.
The Galaxy has reported that Donovan is expected to train with them on Tuesday in preparation for their season opener against DC United on March 22. Donovan contributed four goals in five friendly matches for Bayern.