BAYERN IN TOP GEAR AHEAD OF DECISIVE APRIL
Bayern Munich face high-fliers Hoffenheim away on Tuesday as the runaway German league leaders look to carry their high-tempo football into two key Bundesliga fixtures within four days.
After thumping Augsburg 6-0 on Saturday, Bayern are unbeaten in their last 20 games dating back to November, but play third-placed Hoffenheim then host arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund, who are fourth, on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti's side are 13 points clear at the top of the table, but only managed a 1-1 draw at home to Hoffenheim when the teams met in November in Munich.
The Bavarians have a gruelling fixture list of nine games in 29 days in April, including playing Real Madrid home and away in their mouth-watering Champions League quarterfinal.
Ancelotti is set to rotate against Hoffenheim with only Manuel Neuer and Douglas Costa sidelined, while Javi Martinez and Xabi Alonso are available again having served one-match suspensions.
"Nothing will be given to us there," warned Thomas Mueller ahead of the Hoffenheim clash.
"We are playing good opponents every three or four days, so we want to go there and put in a good performance.
"April will be a hot month for us, let's see how we come through the fire."
Bayern are in top form.
Robert Lewandowski netted his fourth Bayern hat-trick this season in the drubbing of Augsburg and also set up Thiago Alcantara and Mueller in an outstanding display.
The Bavarians are hungry to repeat their 2013 Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble and April will be an acid test – they finish the month with a Cup semifinal at home to Dortmund.
Hoffenheim have ambitions of their own under 29-year-old Julian Nagelsmann, the youngest coach in Bundesliga history.
They are looking to qualify for the Champions League next season for the first time in the club's history and are eager to once more test themselves against star-studded Bayern.
"This will be an exciting game and we will be brave," promised Nagelsmann, "but we have to hope that Bayern don't have their best day."
With Neuer sidelined after foot surgery, Bayern's stand-in goalkeeper Sven Ulreich will face a Hoffenheim attack led by Sandro Wagner, who will play despite dislocating a finger in Friday's 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin.
Also on Tuesday, Dortmund host resurgent Hamburg with captain Marcel Schmelzer struggling with a back problem he picked up in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Schalke.
Hamburg are only just clear of the relegation places, but are unbeaten in their last four league games after Lewis Holtby scored their 92nd-minute winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory against Cologne.
JUVENTUS HOLDS OUT FOR TENSE DRAW AT NAPOLI........................
Serie A leaders Juventus withstood prolonged pressure as they held out for a tense 1-1 draw at third-placed Napoli in an absorbing match on Sunday.
Sami Khedira gave Juve a seventh-minute lead before Marek Hamsik finished off a flowing exchange of passes to score a superb equaliser on the hour and give Napoli a deserved point.
Gonzalo Higuain was given a hot reception by Napoli fans on his return to the San Paolo stadium following his acrimonious move last July but made little impact on the game.
There was plenty of drama elsewhere, with AC Milan's European hopes suffering a setback in a 1-1 draw at basement side Pescara after a rare mistake by 18-year-old keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Genoa fans turned their backs to the pitch in protest during a 5-0 home defeat by Atalanta and Diego Falcinelli injured himself celebrating after his late goal in a 2-1 triumph at Chievo gave Crotone their first-ever Serie A away win.
Juventus, who have 74 points from 30 games, remained 10 points clear of Napoli although their advantage over AS Roma is down to six after the second-placed side's 2-0 home win over Empoli on Saturday.
Juve silenced the home fans when Khedira picked up a loose ball, played a one-two with Miralem Pjanic, and scored with a shot which went under the arms of Napoli keeper Rafael, who was standing in for the injured Pepe Reina.
After that, it was all Napoli as they penned Juve into their own half and managed 13 shots on goal to their opponents' three.
Napoli were forced to play the ball around in midfield for long periods probing for openings but their patience was eventually rewarded.
After a long exchange of passes, the ball found Hamsik who played a quick one-two with Dries Mertens, got free of the defence and side-footed his shot wide of Gianluigi Buffon.
Napoli were nearly gifted a second goal when Mertens intercepted Kwadwo Asamoah's backpass but could only shoot against the foot of the post from a narrow angle.
Milan gifted Pescara an early goal when Donnarumma missed the ball completely as he tried to control Gabriel Paletta's back pass and it flew straight into the net for an own goal.
Mario Pasalic levelled before halftime but, despite dominating the second half, Milan failed to find a winner and were left seventh with 54 points.
They dropped four behind fifth-placed Atalanta, who were sent on their way when defender Andrea Conti met Leonardo Spinazzola's cross with a superb overhead kick after 25 minutes.
Alejandro Gomez helped himself to a hat-trick, including a penalty, and Mattia Caldara also scored while Genoa had Mauricio Pinilla sent off just after the hour. Genoa's hardcore Ultra fans turned their backs to the pitch after the third goal.
Crotone's Falcinelli curled in an exquisite effort in the 82nd minute to give his side a famous win which put them five points behind 17th-placed Empoli and the safety zone.
Falcinelli was so excited that he tried to jump over an advertising hoarding to celebrate but slipped and had to be carried off on a stretcher, though he said later that he had merely suffered a cut to his knee.
Torino's Andrea Belotti hit the post twice before finally scoring in the 83rd minute to secure a 2-2 draw at home to Udinese and take his season's tally to 23 goals in the mid-table clash.
Palermo's troubles continued as they lost 3-1 at home to Cagliari, putting them second-bottom and seven points adrift of the safety zone.