Big boys in deep trou­ble

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

WERDER BRE­MEN, Schalke and SV Ham­burg are three of the big­gest Bun­desliga clubs on pa­per but af­ter a dis­as­trous start to the cam­paign they find them­selves prop­ping up the rest of the di­vi­sion ahead of this week­end matches.

Bot­tom pair Bre­men and Schalke have lost all four games so far while Ham­burg have only a sin­gle point to their name.

It is Ham­burg’s chal­lenge which seems tough­est to­mor­row and be­lea­guered coach Bruno Lab­ba­dia will be look­ing for an im­proved per­for­mance, if not re­sult, when his team host ram­pant league lead­ers Bay­ern Mu­nich.

“We had made our plans and of course the dis­ap­point­ment is huge,” Lab­ba­dia said af­ter Tues­day’s de­feat at Freiburg.

That is not an is­sue af­fect­ing op­po­nents Bay­ern, who purred to a 3-0 vic­tory over the pre­vi­ously per­fect Hertha Ber­lin yes­ter­day.

“That was the best per­for­mance of the sea­son so far,” de­lighted coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

Un­der­achiev­ing Schalke have lost ev­ery league game, most re­cently yes­ter­day’s 3-1 home re­verse to Cologne. They now go to Hof­fen­heim on Sun­day look­ing to turn things round.

“We’re very dis­ap­pointed and ob­vi­ously had a dif­fer­ent start to the sea­son in mind,” coach Markus Weinzierl said.

“Now it’s up to me to pick the boys up ... Matches in the Bun­desliga are de­cided by small de­tails. It’s ob­vi­ous that we are all un­happy.”

Bre­men have al­ready fired their first coach of the sea­son, Vik­tor Skrip­nik, and stand-in Alexan­der Nouri came within min­utes of beat­ing Mainz yes­ter­day only to lose 2-1 to late goals.

Nouri was sent to the stand in that de­feat but will con­tinue to lead the side at home to Wolfs­burg in to­mor­row’s late game. – dpa

AFPPIX

Ivan Rakitic (2nd left) heads to score for Barcelona’s dur­ing yes­ter­day’s La Liga match against Atletico de Madrid at the Camp Nou sta­dium.

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