PREVIEW-Soccer-Bayern on the ropes but ready to fight back in Bundesliga title battle

Credit: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BERLIN, March 7 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich may trail Bayer Leverkusen by 10 points with 10 games left in the Bundesliga this season but they are not yet ready to throw in the towel, having been boosted by their midweek Champions League success.

The Bavarians, whose coach Thomas Tuchel will leave at the end of the season following their bad run recently, moved into the Champions League last eight with a dominant 3-0 win over Lazio on Tuesday.

It was their best game in months, boosting their confidence ahead of their league match at home to second-bottom Mainz 05 on Saturday.

"We must now up the ante," Tuchel said. "We can be happy about it (beating Lazio) but on Saturday we face Mainz and they will make our life difficult.

"We have to keep at it for us to maintain this momentum. This has not been easy for us this season."

Bayern, winners of the last 11 league titles, have won one of their last four Bundesliga matches and are on 54 points in second place behind Leverkusen, who are eyeing their first league crown.

"The win against Lazio is good for all of us," said Bayern CEO Herbert Hainer. "Had we failed to advance we would have faced a media storm.

"Now we must focus on Mainz because in the Bundesliga things can still happen," he said.

Leverkusen host lowly VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday, having to travel first to Azerbaijan for Thursday's Europa League Round of 16 game against Qarabag FK.

Xabi Alonso's team are still unbeaten in all competitions this season but midfielder Granit Xhaka warned that their campaign was not over yet.

The Swiss international said he had experienced with Arsenal last season letting an eight-point lead slip as Manchester City retained their Premier League crown.

No Bundesliga team has lost the title having had a 10-point lead at this stage.

"Last season we were in a similar situation and we ended up not winning the title," said Xhaka, who joined Leverkusen this term.

"This is what I am telling my team mates in the changing room. It is not yet over. We want to remain with our feet on the ground and take it one game at a time.

"There are still 10 matches left which means 30 potential points," Xhaka said. "The race is not over yet."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

((karolos.grohmann@thomsonreuters.com; +491743343192;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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