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Top Five: Lionel Messi fails

The Toe Poke 34 minutes ago
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By ESPN Staff
Nov 16, 2006

Bundesliga: Bayern in good shape for Stuttgart

BERLIN, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich will be boosted by the return of Lucio and Sebastian Deisler as they seek to confirm their revival against Bundesliga leaders VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.

Coach Felix Magath hailed last weekend's 3-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen, when they scored twice in the last seven minutes, as a possible turning point in a disappointing season to far.

It at least prevented Bayern falling any further than four points behind the leaders.

Now, the champions for the past two years must prove they are good enough to beat one of their main rivals for the title when they meet at the Allianz Arena.

'A draw against Stuttgart would not be good enough,' manager Uli Hoeness said this week. 'We need to start a winning run now.'

Bayern have struggled in defence since Lucio was forced out of the 3-1 defeat by Werder Bremen last month with an ankle injury.

The Brazilian centre-back returned to full training this week and he should slot straight back into the team in place of Martin Demichelis.

Deisler, the Germany international winger, has not played for eight months after undergoing surgery on his injured knee. Magath has confirmed that he will return to the squad and he will be fit enough to play a part if needed.

Stuttgart have moved top thanks to a run of four successive wins.

Their chances of making it five will be hit by the suspension of Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger and injuries to defender Serdar Tasci and midfielder Fernando Meira.

Should Stuttgart fail to inflict another defeat on Bayern, Werder Bremen will be able to take advantage and move back top by winning at Alemannia Aachen in another of Saturday's games.

Werder, now a point behind Stuttgart, lost the leadership when they were surprisingly beaten 3-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund last weekend.

This match in Aachen will be a real test of concentration, as they face Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Schalke 04, who are in third place behind Werder on goal difference, will also have aspirations of going top on Saturday when they play away to Energie Cottbus.

The 13th round of matches gets underway on Friday when Bochum host Eintracht Frankfurt.