Bayern crank up pressure on officials as crunch-time looms

After the winter break Bayern Munich have worryingly slipped two points behind reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.

Bayern's CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge yesterday laid this deficit squarely at the hands (and whistles) of the officials.

"I have noticed that referees are making strange decisions at the moment," he claimed. "If Knut Kircher had awarded our fair goal in Hamburg, for example, we wouldn't have lost our lead at the top. I sometimes get the impression that referees are thinking 'if in doubt, decide against Bayern!'"

This slightly one-eyed view was supported by Bayern President Uli Hoeness, who also subscribed to the view that if a referee was in doubt, decisions always tended to go against the record German champions.

"Referees know then they will be left in peace all week," he said. "Our fans can accept bad decisions better than fans of other clubs who later harass the officials on the telephone!"

Ahead of tricky away games this Saturday - in the Bundesliga at bottom-of-the-table SC Freiburg and next Wednesday in Switzerland in the Champions League against unfancied FC Basle - the Bayern hierarchy are clearly keen to divert any undue pressure from their misfiring team onto the officials.

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