Bayern prepare to celebrate double-double
FRANKFURT, May 5 (Reuters) Bayern Munich expect to clinch a 20th German championship and an unprecedented second successive league and cup double by winning away at Kaiserslautern tomorrow.
''We're looking forward to going there and wrapping it up,'' coach Felix Magath said this week after watching his side rediscover their fluent attacking game in a 3-1 win at home to VfB Stuttgart.
''It's going to be pretty hard to stop us now.'' Wednesday's victory over Stuttgart followed the 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Cup final in Berlin tomorrow and restored the team's five-point lead over Hamburg SV with two rounds of matches to go.
They need two points to be certain and even one would likely to be enough given their healthy advantage in terms of goal difference.
If Hamburg fail to win their game away to Hertha Berlin, Bayern will be champions whatever they do.
Magath can recall Michael Ballack after he missed the Stuttgart match through suspension but the way Roque Santa Cruz played in his position may just mean the Germany captain, who is preparing to leave at the end of the season, has to settle for a place on the bench.
Santa Cruz, back in the starting line-up for the first time since suffering cruciate knee ligament damage in October, scored the Bayern equaliser and held the midfield together in impressive style.
''We'll miss Ballack but I think we've shown that we have players who can replace him,'' said Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
''I've always said Santa Cruz would be an ideal player in that position. He's like Kaka (of Brazil and AC Milan).'' The Bavarians can expect a tough challenge from third-from-bottom Kaiserslautern, who need a win to stay in with a chance of avoiding relegation.
The omens are unquestionably good, though. It was at Kaiserslautern that Bayern secured the league title last season, winning 4-0 thanks to a Roy Makaay hat-trick.
Hamburg need one more win to be sure of at least second place and automatic entry to next season's Champions League.
Werder Bremen will make mathematically certain of third position and a place in the final qualifying round of the Champions League if they pick up a point at home to relegated Cologne.
Reuters PDS GC0930