Bayern looking to bounce back

The big spenders Germans are looking to scoop the pool.

    The team celebrate victory in the League Cup
    on Saturday [GALLO/GETTY]

    "Bayern had a difficult season and it's up to us to turn it around," he said.
    The 20-times German champions took the League Cup especially seriously, thrashing the three Champions League-bound teams that finished ahead of them by a combined 7-1 goal tally: champions VfB Stuttgart (2-0), Schalke 04 (1-0) and Werder Bremen (4-1).
    Their main priority is reclaiming the Bundesliga crown from last season's shock winners Stuttgart, but they have also targeted success in the UEFA Cup and the German Cup.
    In buying Ribery and Toni the club even overlooked a once tacit requirement to play for Bayern which was the ability to speak German.
    But perhaps more importantly for Hitzfield will be juggling all the egos in his star studded team.
    "We've got some integration difficulties to master, such as language barriers," he said.
    "We've got unknowns to sort out."
    Race for the title

    The team is straight into training [GALLO/GETTY]

    The German title will be no mean feat with Stuttgart, Schalke and Werder Bremen all expected to mount serious challenges for the title, while Bayer Leverkusen and a rejuvenated Hamburg SV are also seen as possible contenders.
    However, Bayern's spending has also affected their rivals with Werder's marksman Klose and Schalke's midfielder Altintop both leaving to join the German giant.
    It is not the only setback for the two sides with Werder also weakened by the pre-season injury to captain Torsten Frings while Schalke are struggling after also selling Brazilian playmaker Lincoln to Galatasaray.
    Stuttgart, for their part, lost Germany reserve goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand to Valencia.
    Their main addition is Turkey midfielder Yildiray Basturk from Hertha Berlin.
    Perhaps the biggest question for the title-holders, who shot from ninth to first last season, is how they will cope with the dual burdens of the Bundesliga and a first Champions League campaign in four years without the heavy investment in reinforcement in the off season.
    Stuttgart had an amazing eight-match winning streak at the end of last term to rally from third to first.
    Even Stuttgart believe Bayern are the favourites.
    "We need more motivation," coach Armin Veh said.
    "Everyone's got their problems but we've got to be motivated."
    At the bottom of the table, where eight clubs spent much of last season battling relegation, another tight tussle is expected.
    Arminia Bielefeld, Energie Cottbus, Eintracht Frankfurt, VfL Wolfsburg as well as promoted Karlsruhe SC, Hansa Rostock, and MSV Duisburg have set their top goal as avoiding relegation.


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