No favours for old club Wolfsburg, says Mandzukic

Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic will be looking to show his old club VfL Wolfsburg what they are missing when they host the runaway Bundesliga leaders on Friday.

Mandzukic has been in great form since joining Bayern last July from Wolves and his five goals in the three league games so far in 2013 have helped the Bavarians open a 15-point lead at the top of the table.

By both finishing and creating chances -- he has netted 14 goals in 18 matches -- Mandzukic has restricted Germany striker Mario Gomez to only the occasional start for Bayern.

"I knew I had to believe in myself from the start," said the 26-year-old Croatia star. "Now I expect to play in every game."

Having left Wolfsburg after two years, 20 goals and 56 league matches, the former Dinamo Zagreb forward has been in outstanding form and there will be no place for sentiment with the league leaders hunting their 18th league win from 22 games

"We want to be the boss on the pitch again," said Mandzukic, who still backs his old team to thrive with Wolves coach Dieter Hecking having picked up two wins in his four matches since taking charge in December.

"They have a good team and good individual players but I think they need some time until everything works the way it should be."

Bayern will not under-estimate Wolfsburg, who earned a shock 3-2 win against defending champions Borussia Dortmund in December, especially with Brazil playmaker Diego bossing the midfield.

"I won't allow my players any sloppiness," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.

"We have not yet reached our goal, so we can't allow ourselves to be swayed by anything."

One factor in Wolfsburg's favour is Bayern's looming Champions League tie against Arsenal in London next Tuesday.

"We'll start thinking about that as of Saturday. It still gives us enough time to prepare for Arsenal," said Kroos.

Bayern have few injury problems for the trip to Wolfsburg with Javi Martinez out with a bruised big toe, as is back-up striker Claudio Pizarro (throat infection), while Dante (stomach problems) should be fit.

Wolves striker Patrick Helmes could make his first appearance of the season and is rated as "50-50" by Hecking after tearing knee ligaments last August.

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund have a tough match at home to fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday after Wednesday's Champions League last 16 tie at Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk which ended 2-2.

With Galatasaray looming in Istanbul next week in the Champions League, 10th-placed Schalke need to break their terrible recent form with just one win in their last 10 league games at Mainz on Saturday.

Coach Jens Keller has a host of problems with both midfielders Marco Hoeger and Jefferson Farfan suffering from flu, while Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is out as he recovers from a burst blood vessel in his eye.

Japan defender Atsuto Uchida (torn thigh muscle), Dutch forward Ibrahim Afellay (muscle tear) and Greece's Kyriakos Papadopoulos (knee surgery) are all out, while Austria defender Christian Fuchs is back from suspension.

Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen should have few problems against second-from-bottom Augsburg.

Hamburg will be without Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler, who has pulled a strained stomach muscle, with Jaroslav Drobny to deputise.

Hamburg are up to seventh after their impressive 4-1 win at Dortmund last Saturday while 'Gladbach drew 3-3 at home to Bayer Leverkusen.

Friday

VfL Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich

Saturday

Bayer Leverkusen v Augsburg, Werder Bremen v Freiburg, Mainz 05 v Schalke 04, Hamburg v Borussia M'gladbach, Fortuna Duesseldorf v Greuther Fuerth, Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt

Sunday

Nuremberg v Hanover 96, Hoffenheim v VfB Stuttgart

  • Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report 38 minutes ago
    Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 12 hours ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 13 hours ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • David Moyes statement after Man United firing
    David Moyes statement after Man United firing

    Statement released by David Moyes on Wednesday, a day after Manchester United announced he left as manager after less than a season in charge.

  • Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake
    Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military commander said critics who called him out for wearing an especially luxurious watch should be quiet because the timepiece is actually a cheap Chinese fake.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.