Bayern Munich will be looking to retain their place at the top of the Bundesliga table when they lock horns with Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Bayern Munich fans definitely didn’t have a great time during the international break, as several of their players were involved during Germany’s humiliating 6-0 defeat at the hands of Spain this midweek. However, those players will have the opportunity to boost their confidence as they resume their Bundesliga campaign on Saturday, with a home game against Werder Bremen.
The Bavarians are leading the table heading into this encounter, having secured 18 points in 7 matches. But with both RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund breathing down their necks, there is no room for error for Hansi Flick’s men, even though the club has enjoyed good form, of late.
They are, in fact, coming on the back of a 3-2 victory over Dortmund in Der Klassiker a fortnight ago – a win that propelled them to the top of the league table, effectively making them favourites to seal another three points heading into this weekend’s encounter.
Werder Bremen, unfortunately, do not have a great record against Bayern Munich, especially in recent years. They have also had a dip in form following a positive start to the campaign and have failed to win even once in their last four competitive matches.
Perhaps one of the main reasons behind their lack of form over the past few matches is a misfiring offensive unit that has scored only four goals in four matches. It certainly needs to fire on all cylinders this weekend, if the men in Green are to have any hopes of salvaging a point against Bayern. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides ahead of this enticing Bundesliga encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies are set to remain out for FC Bayern, who are likely to make some key changes as most of their star players were involved in midweek during the international break.
As such, Jerome Boateng is likely to get the nod ahead of Niklas Sule at the heart of the club’s four-man backline, where the veteran centre-back is set to partner David Alaba. Lucas Hernandez, meanwhile, will continue to deputise for the injured Davies while Benjamin Pavard is likely to start ahead of Bouna Sarr at right-back.
Leon Goretzka had a miserable game against Spain, but with Kimmich absent, the German international will be asked to start. He is likely to partner Javi Martinez in the double-pivot. Flick does have other options including Corentin Tolisso and Marc Roca, who could be given a chance to make an impression due to the absence of Kimmich.
In the attack, Serge Gnabry could be given a much-needed breather so he could make way for Kingsley Coman at left-wing while Leroy Sane may continue on the opposite flank. Thomas Muller, however, is a guaranteed starter in the number ten role.
The Bayern Munich attack should be spearheaded by none other than Robert Lewandowski. The Pole has had a disappointing international break, failing to score against Italy and Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League, so he will be desperate to find the back of the net this weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez; Martinez, Goretzka; Sane, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
Werder Bremen’s top striker Josh Sargent was not included in USMNT’s squad and instead worked on his fitness. It should bode well for the club as the youngster is now in contention to start against Bayern Munich. The American international should spearhead the Bremen attack alongside star man Milot Raschica.
Claudio Pizarro on USMNT striker Josh Sargent (20) this season ?
“I think he’s a very talented boy. Very intelligent, very capable of analysing situations and seeing moments in games to take advantage of. I think with time he’s going to learn much more, of course.” [Bundesliga] pic.twitter.com/mXb8v8xhFm
— OneGoal (@OneGoalUS) November 16, 2020
These two will play a key role in making full use of Bayern’s high line of press. It essentially means that we can expect the away side to operate deep and use a lot of long balls, in the hope of breaking down the opposing defence using the pace of the two attackers.
Leonardo Bittencourt could also play a key role in the Bremen attack. He could act as a catalyst in the team’s counter-attacking approach while the 26-year-old’s aggression means he could be a vital cog in the first line of press as well.
Not many changes are expected in midfield, with engines like Maximilian Eggestein and Jean-Manuel Mbom hoping to make things easy for the holding midfielder Christian Gross, who is expected to clear out any loose balls and screen the back-four. He could also drop in at centre-back with Marco Friedl shifting wider – making it a situational 3-4-2-1.
Fortunately for Florian Kohfeldt, the likes of Gross and right-back Theodor Gebre-Selassie are versatile enough to provide that sort of tactical versatility, although the onus will be on the central defensive pairing of Niklas Moisander and Omer Toprak to offer the solidity at the back against the mighty Bayern attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-2-1): Pavlenka; Gebre-Selassie, Toprak, Moisander, Friedl; Eggestein, Gross, Mbom; Bittencourt, Rashica; Sargent
- Robert Lewandowski has scored two goals more than the entire Bremen squad combined.
- Bayern are yet to lose in 24 league games with Lucas Hernandez on the field. They have also conceded fewer goals with him than without him since his debut in August 2019.
- Hansi Flick will take charge of his 50th competitive game as Bayern coach. Since replacing Niko Kovac last November, Flick has overseen 45 wins, one draw and just three defeats.
- Opposite number Florian Kohfeldt will also celebrate a landmark: his 100th game in a Bundesliga dugout. His balance stands at 34 wins, 36 defeats and 29 draws.
- This will be a Bundesliga-record 109th meeting between the sides. Bremen’s last victory against Die Roten came back in September 2008 when Claudio Pizarro – now a Bayern ambassador – scored in a 5-2 win for the Green and Whites in Munich.
Player to Watch
For Bayern Munich fans, and perhaps Joachim Low as well, the focus will be on Goretzka, whose mentality will be tested in this crucial fixture against Bremen. As mentioned earlier, the midfielder is coming on the back of a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain with the German national team and will be without his usual partner Kimmich this weekend.
Goretzka, in the past, has struggled to control the midfield without the support of a pacy and reliable holding midfielder. So, on Saturday, the ex-Schalke starlet will have the opportunity to silence his critics by getting the better of Werder’s dynamic midfield trifecta of Mbom, Eggestein and Gross.
This isn’t going to be an easy task, however, and the 25-year-old will be needing the full support of Martinez in the double-pivot, thus making him one to watch out for in this fascinating encounter.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Werder Bremen
Bayern Munich have been in flawless form in the league this season, barring from a shocking defeat to Hoffenheim. And their mighty attacking unit is likely to prevail once again, though the club’s defensive tactics, combined with Bremen’s sharp counter-attack might once again force them to concede one or two goals this weekend.
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