Naharnet

Bayern's Boateng Eager to Shut-out Hanover

Germany star Jerome Boateng wants to make sure Bayern Munich's defense keeps the team's impressive unbeaten run going at Hanover on Sunday.

Bayern's 4-0 hammering of Hertha Berlin at home last weekend opened a five-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga, but they conceded a rare goal in the 1-1 draw with Napoli on Tuesday in the Champions League.

Hanover will be the latest team to try and break Bayern's 13-game unbeaten run which stretches back to their only defeat of the season in August and Mirko Slomka's Hanover have yet to be beaten at home this term.

Munich have conceded just two goals in all 15 games and part of the reason is the arrival of Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from Schalke and defender Boateng from Manchester City.

Boateng, 22, has made 13 appearances for his new club so far, seven at center-half and six at full-back.

"It's not like I'm going to turn any opportunity to play down," said Boateng.

"I like it out on the right too, and I'm happy to do it for the team. It's just important we pick up another win."

Several eye-catching displays at the heart of Bayern's defense have led to comparisons with Barcelona's Brazilian star Dani Alves.

"It's like having a Dani Alves in white boots," said striker Mario Gomez with the Bayern defense set to be tested by Hanover's Ivory Coast striker Didier Ya Konan and Norway's Mohammed Abdellaoue.

Goalkeeper Neuer is looking to extend his clean-sheet record in the Bundesliga.

Neuer kept his eighth straight clean-sheet against Hertha and has gone 748 minutes without conceding a goal in the German league to close in on the all-time record of 884 minutes.

The draw at Napoli means Bayern's record run without a goal conceded in all competition ended at 1,147 minutes, but Neuer is still on course to claim the Bundesliga record.

Second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach are at Hoffenheim.

Hoffenheim will be without goalkeeper Tom Starke as the 30-year-old was knocked out by captain Andreas Beck in a training accident on Tuesday and reserve goalkeeper Daniel Haas will deputise.

Fresh from their Champions League win over Valencia on Wednesday, Leverkusen will be looking to move up from mid-table at home to Schalke.

Defending champions Borussia Dortmund, who were beaten 3-1 at Olympiakos in the Champions League, host Cologne on Saturday.

Germany forward Lukas Podolski is in blistering form at the moment having scored both goals in Cologne's victory last weekend and Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund face a stern test from their buoyant guests.

Bottom side Hamburg host VFL Wolfsburg with new coach Thorsten Fink in charge having moved from FC Basel on Monday.

His side warmed up with a 6-0 win over the club's Under-23 team, but Felix Magath-coached Wolfsburg will provide a tougher test.

"I have a very good feeling. The team has made a good impression on me so far," said ex-Bayern Munich player Fink, who is set to be in charge for his first Bundesliga game.

"I have confidence we will win the game."

Fink will be without Croatia midfielder Ivo Ilicevic, who scored the winning goal at Freiburg last Sunday, but is out with a torn thigh muscle.

Source: Agence France Presse


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