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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Bundesliga: Bayern look to consolidate lead

BERLIN, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said there was still room for improvement after his side thumped Karlsruhe SC 4-1 to open a two-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Bayern host last-placed Energie Cottbus on Wednesday with the undefeated Bavarians looking for a fifth win in seven games. Hitzfeld said he was not satisfied with Sunday's win despite the clear margin of victory.

'We lost the ball too many times and were often too careless,' he said on Bayern's website. 'It could have all gone wrong. It's nice when you win 4-1 and still have a few things you can improve.'

Wednesday's match could be a baptism of fire for Cottbus's Heiko Weber, who has taken charge of the team on an interim basis after Petrik Sander's sacking on Sunday.

Weber was the Bundesliga's first managerial casualty.

Cottbus lost 2-1 at home on Saturday to VfL Wolfsburg, their fourth defeat in six games.

They are looking to find a permanent replacement for Sander as soon as possible, Manager Steffen Heidrich said on Monday.

Bayern have 14 points, two more than second-placed Hertha Berlin, who host Hansa Rostock on Tuesday. Bayer Leverkusen are third on 11 points and play at Nuremberg on Wednesday.

Werder Bremen, one of four teams on 10 points, play at VfL Wolfsburg on Tuesday fresh from their 4-1 success against champions Stuttgart and boosted by Diego's decision to sign a contract extension until June 2011.

Bremen's Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida, who scored the fastest double in Bundesliga history in 50 seconds against Stuttgart, said the Brazilian playmaker's presence was key if the club were to be successful this season.

'Diego is extremely important,' Almeida said on Bremen's website. 'He play's the killer pass and that's good for us strikers.'

Last year's runners-up Schalke 04 also have 10 points and play at MSV Duisburg on Tuesday.