Bayern Munich v Rapid Vienna
Bayern Munich return to the ground where they lost the 1987 European Champions Clubs’ Cup Final against FC Porto, without midfield pivot Michael Ballack, who has yet to recover from an ankle injury he sustained earlier in the season.
Despite the absence of their influential skipper, Bayern coach Felix Magath is confident that his side can still export their impressive domestic form across the border into Austria, and collect a valuable three points.
“Our goal is to win in Vienna,” he declared. “It’s bad luck that Michael is injured, but I will not be losing any sleep, as we have enough talent in our squad to win the game.”
Roy McKaay, however, looks likely to shake off a knee injury, and lead the Bavarians attack alongside Claudio Pizzaro.
The hosts, meanwhile, have injury concerns of their own. Although coach Josef Hickesberger is confident that defender Jozef Valachovic and midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz will be fit to start, he is less sanguine about the prospects of striker Muhammet Akagunduz.
“It is doubtful that Muhhamet will be passed fit in time”, he said, “but we’ll wait and see”.