A row between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen about whether the Bundesliga leaders receive favourable refereeing decisions intensified on Thursday ahead of the pair facing off at the weekend.
The suggestion from Werder General Manager, Thomas Eichin, that Bayern get special treatment was met with an angry response from Bayern Sporting Director, Matthias Sammer, on Wednesday.
“He has probably received a puck to the head and this is the after effects, it is perfectly possible,” Sammer blasted in a reference to Eichin’s previous work as an ice hockey manager.
Eichin hit back on Thursday, telling kicker.de: “The violent reaction shows that there is some truth to what I said.”
The accusations were given extra fuel by Bayern strolling to a 7-0 hammering of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday after the Ukrainian visitors had Olexandr Kucher sent off after only three minutes.
Kucher did trip Mario Goetze in the box to concede a penalty but the red card for a professional foul was debatable.
“They shouldn’t have shown a red card,” Shakhtar coach, Mircea Lucescu, said after the last 16 second leg.
“I am upset by the fact that big teams, as always, get some help.”
Bayern and referees’ chiefs deny anything underhand is going on but it certainly adds spice to Saturday’s game between the old rivals at the Weserstadion, which otherwise was just a listless mid-table side hosting the runaway leaders who cannot realistically be caught.
Werder will at least be boosted by news that Bayern wingers, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, miss out on Saturday after picking up injuries against Shakhtar, while Xavi Alonso is suspended.
On a positive injury note, Bayern said on Thursday that Spanish midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, had completed part of a team training session for the first time since October 2014 after a serious knee injury.
He is still someway from first team action but Philipp Lahm could be in contention on Saturday after surprisingly making the bench on Wednesday following recovery from a broken ankle.