Optimistic Bayern ready for Getafe rescue mission
MUNICH, April 9 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich feel they have the wind at their backs heading into Thursday's UEFA Cup rescue mission at Getafe, which is just as well considering the storm that awaits them at the Coliseum.
Home leg carelessness meant the Germans, UEFA Cup winners in 1996, had to settle for a 1-1 draw last week after Cosmin Contra struck a dramatic late equaliser for the visitors.
Ottmar Hitzfeld's side were in trouble again when they had Mark van Bommel sent off while trailing Bochum 1-0 on Sunday but a great comeback, featuring goals from Lucio, Franck Ribery and Christian Lell, saw them move closer to a 21st league title.
'We turned around a difficult game and we'll travel for Thursday's match with the wind behind us,' Lell told reporters after the 3-1 win over Bochum.
At least Bayern will not make the mistake of underestimating the Spanish side this time.
Bayern figurehead Franz Beckenbauer piqued the pride of Getafe when he claimed in the build-up to the game that he knew nothing about them.
'Are they coached by Michael Laudrup?' Beckenbauer was quoted as saying by Spanish media. 'I had no idea.'
Getafe have already won at home to Anderlecht, AEK Athens and Benfica in their debut UEFA Cup season. They warmed up for the Bayern clash by holding Barcelona to a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
The downside was that talented midfielder Pablo Hernandez and defender Mario picked up injuries that make them serious doubts for Thursday. Midfielder Esteban Granero is also suspended.
'There will be a fantastic atmosphere, the stadium will be full and it will be a great party,' club president Angel Torres said of the meeting with the four times European champions.
'If we get past Bayern I'm sure we'll get to the final. But Bayern have got a great team and it won't be easy.'
The prize for getting through will be a semi-final almost certainly against Zenit St Petersburg after the ruthless Russian champions won 4-1 at Bayer Leverkusen in last week's first leg.
In the other half of the draw, PSV Eindhoven will be slight favourites going into their game at home to Fiorentina after a 1-1 draw in Italy, while Sporting and Rangers will try to break the deadlock after a goalless draw in Glasgow.
Fiorentina beat Reggina 2-0 on Sunday to stay fourth in Serie A, four points ahead of AC Milan in the race for the final Champions League spot. They face leaders Inter Milan on Sunday but midfielder Marco Donadel said the focus was on PSV.
'We will give everything, with our heart and our heads,' he told the club website. 'We will have to think about being aggressive and not letting them have time on the ball. They are not used to being attacked.'
Sporting will be without centre-back Anderson Polga because of a thigh muscle injury, meaning a likely start for Gladstone.
For Rangers, David Weir is suspended but striker Daniel Cousin could return after recovering from a broken jaw.