There's a lot riding on Bayern's Tuesday night match against Fiorentina. Coach Juergen Klinsmann wants to see a marked improvement on the pitch. And one Bayern star should be extra motivated.
Luca Toni is hoping to celebrate against his old team
Bayern's star striker Luca Toni knows his next opponents all too well. He played for Fiorentina for two years, before transferring to southern Germany in 2007.
The banter was lively before the reunion of the player and his former club.
"If he does it, we'll cut off his ear," Fiorentina Vice-President Sandro Mencucci was quoted as saying -- a reference to Toni's habit of celebrating goals by waving a cupped hand in front of his ear.
Toni won the golden boot for Europe's top striker with Fiorentina
The striker was quick with a response.
"Let him do it," Toni said. "I play with my feet anyway."
Toni was not 100 percent certain for the match Tuesday, Oct. 21, having suffered bruised ribs in Bayern's Bundesliga match over the weekend.
If he does play, he'll be in search of his first-ever Champions League goal. Despite being 31, Toni's spent much of his career at smaller teams, and this is his first time in Europe's premier club competition.
So far, Bayern haven't responded well to Klinsi's exhortations
Toni's ribs aren't the only things to have taken some knocks in the Bundesliga. Bayern are off to their worst start in years in their home league, and coach Juergen Klinsmann hopes a win over Fiorentina can spark a turn-around.
Mighty Munich are only 11th in the Bundesliga table after a bumbling beginning to Klinsi's first stint as a coach in club soccer.
He's expected to deploy the same 4-4-2 formation, with controversial captain Mark van Bommel as a second holding midfielder, as he did in Bayern's last league match against Karlsruhe.
After being benched for a spell, van Bommel is back in the starting 11
Bayern got a much-needed, if edgy 1-nil win in that game, but the pressure's on in Munich for Klinsmann to start producing results.
"We have to go on a run now," Bayern commercial manager Uli Hoeness told the daily Bild newspaper. "If we win against Fiorentina and then beat Wolfsburg, Frankfurt and Bielefeld, things will look pretty good."
But Bayern's attack hasn't exactly had opponents quivering lately, and Fiorentina are likely to play defensively and hope to catch out Munich's sometimes erratic back four on the counter-attack.
So a considerable improvement will be necessary if Toni is to get his first Champions League goal -- and Bayern a boost to climb out of the bottom half of the Bundesliga table.