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Oct 23, 2006

Bayern Munich need tonic from Cup game

BERLIN, Oct 23 (Reuters) - A Bayern Munich side beaten three times already this season look suddenly vulnerable as they prepare to host Kaiserslautern in the second round of the German Cup on Wednesday (1830 GMT).

Bayern are enduring their worst start to a Bundesliga season in 13 years, after a 3-1 defeat away to Werder Bremen on Saturday left them in fourth place with just 13 points from eight matches.

There is no reason for panic yet, of course.

For all their inconsistency, they are only three points behind co-leaders Werder and Schalke 04, while three wins out of three in the Champions League have made them almost certain of a place in the last 16.

Defeat against Kaiserslautern, however, would start to make life uncomfortable for coach Felix Magath.

Bayern have won the league and cup double in each of Magath's previous two years but the coach is starting to sound concerned by the continuing lapses in concentration.

'We started the game against Werder really badly,' Magath told reporters in Bremen. 'We didn't make enough effort.'

They will need to be wary against Kaiserslautern, who will be looking for their second win in four days at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern share their futuristic new stadium with TSV 1860 Munich of the second division and Kaiserslautern warmed up for the Cup match with a 1-0 win away to the city's second team on Sunday.

Kaiserslautern were relegated from the top flight last season and after eight matches they look well placed for a swift return, as they lie in third spot with 16 points.

Bayern will be without Brazilian centre-back Lucio, who could be out for three weeks after suffering an ankle injury against Werder.

Oliver Kahn missed training on Sunday but should be fit enough to play, according to Magath.

With Werder Bremen and Hamburg SV both among the casualties of the first round, Schalke 04 look to be Bayern's strongest rivals.

They are in action on Tuesday in another tricky looking tie away to Cologne, who like Kaiserslautern were relegated from the Bundesliga last term.

VfB Stuttgart should have a much easier task away to amateur club SV Babelsberg on Tuesday.

The 16 ties are evenly split between Tuesday and Wednesday.

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