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Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge

50-50 Challenge
By ESPN Staff

Schalke aim to stop Bayern going top

Bayern Munich have the chance to go top of the Bundesliga for the first time all season when they host Schalke on Saturday - but opposition coach Mike Buskens has promised to make their life difficult.

Since Buskens and his assistants Youri Mulder and Oliver Reck took over the Royal Blues when Fred Rutten was fired earlier this month, they have won three games in a row.

Added to the six matches the coaching trio led towards the end of last season, their record in charge reads a remarkable eight victories and one draw.

Given they were appointed with Schalke languishing in mid-table, Buskens admits his side is under no pressure at all to win again this weekend.

Instead, he has shifted all of the weight of expectation onto Bayern, whose coach Jurgen Klinsmann's job could be riding on the fixture.

"The pressure is on them," he said. "They know that they cannot afford even the slightest slip-up in the fight for the title with Wolfsburg.

"We have nothing to lose in Munich so why should we show any fear?"

Bayern responded to the mounting pressure on Klinsmann with a 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt a fortnight ago, but they need to go one better against Schalke to rise to the summit.

Their goal difference is currently five inferior to that of league leaders Wolfsburg, whom they trail by three points going into the weekend's games.

Wolfsburg are not in action until Sunday, when they travel to relegation-threatened Energie Cottbus.

Hamburg also have the chance to draw level with the Wolves at the top of the table on Saturday, but they would need to make up 24 goals in their game at Borussia Dortmund to stand any chance of ending the weekend on top of the pile.

Furthermore, opponents Dortmund have won their last four matches and are themselves in desperate need of the points to maintain their push for a place in Europe next season. They, like Schalke, trail the top five by five points.

Eighth-placed Hoffenheim are one point further behind, but their coach Ralf Rangnick has already ruled his team out of a place in Europe next season.

"It's not worth concerning ourselves with such aims," he told Sport Bild magazine. "That would be unrealistic."

However, they can move into sixth position by defeating Hertha Berlin in this weekend's first fixture tomorrow night.

At the bottom of the table, Sunday will be important for both Borussia Monchengladbach and Arminia Bielefeld.

They meet at the Borussia Park Stadion with the winner knowing they would enter the final five games of the season outside the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, Cottbus need to beat Wolfsburg on Sunday to stand any chance of moving out of danger.

Bottom-placed Karlsruhe, on the other hand, know that not even a win at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday can take them off the foot of the table.

Elsewhere, DFB-Pokal finalists Werder Bremen host Bochum, Stuttgart entertain Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne travel to Hannover.


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