Buoyant Bayern ready to launch title tilt

BERLIN - Bayern Munich's impressive Champions League win at Juventus should provide the platform for a determined challenge for the Bundesliga title, manager Christian Nerlinger said.

Bayern have won their last two league matches and two Champions League group games, including the emphatic 4-1 victory at Juventus on Tuesday.

"We have a positive development in the Bundesliga and if we win the last two matches (before the winter break) then we have set the foundations to win a title," Nerlinger told reporters.

Bayern have failed to top the standings since winning the championship in the 2007-08 season and currently lie fourth, four points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Dutchman Arjen Robben, fully recovered from a knee injury, is expected to start against VfL Bochum on Saturday, though playmaker Franck Ribery will not be risked having just returned to training following a knee injury.

Coach Louis van Gaal, whose players have been tagged "Gaalacticos" after their surprise Champions League qualification, will stick with the attacking partnership of Mario Gomez and Ivica Olic.

Gomez has scored in four of the last five games while Olic has netted in two of the last three, confining out-of-form striker Miroslav Klose and out-of-favour Luca Toni to the bench.

Bayern could leapfrog second-placed Werder Bremen and Schalke 04, who are a point ahead of them on 28 and play each other on Saturday.

"At this time of great success I would like to remind the team that we have two important league matches to play," said Bayern general director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"We have to get points from those matches to show those at the top that we are coming after them with great speed," he said.

Undefeated Leverkusen, free from European commitments, travel to bottom-placed Hertha Berlin on Friday.

VfB Stuttgart, buoyed by their qualification for the Champions League knockout stage despite lying only 16th in the league, will bid to continue their revival under new coach Christian Gross when they play Mainz on Sunday.