Bayern out to end goal drought against Roma

BERLIN - Bayern Munich know they must end their goal drought when they host AS Roma in their opening Champions League group match on Wednesday if they are to avoid putting themselves under pressure again.

Last year, the German club got into a tight corner in the group stage of the competition and had to win their final two matches to escape an early exit.

They made it through and eventually lost to Inter Milan in the final.

"Against Roma we need to make sure we avoid making the group phase into a tension-filled affair like last season," striker Thomas Muller told reporters on Monday.

Bayern, who drew 0-0 at home to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday, have scored just two goals in three league matches, and none since August 20.

"There does not seem to be a logical explanation for this (lack of goals)," said Muller.

The Bavarians faced early problems this season, with players who had taken part in the World Cup having a shortened preparation time and winger Arjen Robben being ruled out injured until the end of the year.

"We definitely did not have a perfect pre-season training. But this needs to change now," Muller said.

Bayern will also be without playmaker Franck Ribery, serving out the remainder of a three-match ban following a straight red card in last season's Champions League semi-final against Olympique Lyon.

Toni Kroos is the most likely candidate to replace him on the wing.

ROMA CRUSHED

Claudio Ranieri's Roma side were hammered 5-1 at Cagliari on Saturday in their second Serie A game. They fell apart after Nicolas Burdisso, the former Inter defender whom they had worked all summer to sign, gave away a penalty and was sent off midway through the first half.

Captain Francesco Totti was surprisingly substituted for Burdisso's younger brother and defender Guillermo to help them cope with 10 men but the ploy failed spectacularly.

The injury-prone Totti was taken off with the Bayern game in mind, although he is now a slight doubt because of an intestinal virus.

Forward Marco Borriello, a new loan signing from AC Milan, had a debut to forget but should keep his place for the Champions League encounter.

"We have to start over with determination and look each other in the eyes to find some positives," Ranieri told reporters.

Roma, last season's Serie A runners-up, are in the process of being sold after racking up huge debts and their transfer deals were limited during the August window.

Brazilian striker Adriano was one notable name brought in and he was surprisingly called up for the Bayern game after making a fast recovery from a hamstring injury.

Left-back John Arne Riise took a bang on the head while away with Norway and is not fit, while defender Philippe Mexes, midfielder Rodrigo Taddei and forward Mirko Vucinic will not make the trip because of injury.

Teams (probable):

Bayern Munich:

1-Hans-Joerg Butt; 21-Philipp Lahm, 5-Daniel van Buyten, 28-Holger Badstuber, 26-Diego Contento; 23-Danijel Pranjic, 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 17-Mark van Bommel, 39-Toni Kroos; 25-Thomas Mueller, 18-Miroslav Klose.

AS Roma:

27-Julio Sergio; 77-Marco Cassetti, 4-Juan, 29-Nicolas Burdisso, 2-Cicinho; 7-David Pizarro, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 20-Simone Perrotta; 94-Jeremy Menez; 10-Francesco Totti, 22-Marco Borriello.

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