BERLIN - No club should fear Bayern Munich despite their record-breaking form in the Bundesliga, Klaus Allofs, sports director of rivals Werder Bremen, says.
"No-one should be soiling their pants before playing Bayern," Allofs said this week. "Their turn will come to lose games, preferably against us."
After a season-opening 1-0 defeat, Bayern have gone on to notch up five straight league wins, scoring 18 goals and conceding none and breaking a Bundesliga record for the best goal difference, a record they themselves had set in the 1972/73 season.
However, second-placed Bremen, who have won three of their last four games, look to have recovered from a bad campaign last season and are set to challenge for the title again.
"Look at Bayern's attack. They have [Nils] Petersen, who only last season was playing in the second division," Allofs said of Bayern's summer signing from Energie Cottbus.
Bayern's Mario Gomez, the league's top scorer with eight goals, has been out of action in recent days with a groin injury.
In order to stay in touch with Bayern, who are two points clear on 15, Werder need to beat promoted Hertha Berlin, who have yet to lose on the road this season.
Bremen's task on Sunday is made harder by the fact that Greece defender Socratis Papastathopoulos has been ruled out with a minor injury.
Socratis, as he is known in Germany, has been a key element in Bremen's tough defence this season.
"He won't be ready this weekend; that much is clear," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf, who will also be without midfielder Tim Borowski.
Bayern can further increase their lead on Saturday when they entertain last season's runners-up and fellow Champions League competitors Bayer Leverkusen.
While Bayern have had a spectacular run of eight consecutive clean sheets in all competitions under former Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes, Leverkusen endured one of their worst home defeats in years when they slumped to a 4-1 loss to Cologne last week.
With 10 points from six games, they are in seventh place and a win in Munich could close the gap. Their last success there, however, was nearly 22 years ago.
"We have to put in a positive performance after the Cologne defeat and we will throw everything on to the pitch for a win in Munich," said midfielder Lars Bender. "We want to irritate Bayern."
Surprise package Borussia Monchengladbach, who last season needed a relegation playoff to avoid the drop, could go top if Bayern slip up.
Third-placed Gladbach, also on 13, host Nuremberg on Saturday looking for their fifth victory in seven games.
Champions Borussia Dortmund, in 11th place on seven points after two consecutive defeats, travel to Mainz 05 on Saturday knowing that playmaker Mario Gotze is back after sitting out a two-game suspension.comments