Bayern Munich can retake the top spot in the Bundesliga should they beat Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Defending champions Bayern Munich can retake the summit of the Bundesliga should they get the better of Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena on Sunday. Having lost top spot to Borussia Dortmund last week, Thomas Tuchel’s side have been offered an immediate chance at redemption following Dortmund’s draw away at Vfl Bochum last night.
Having won just two of his first seven games in charge across all competitions, Tuchel will be keen to get Die Roten’s campaign back on track. Hertha Berlin are at the bottom of the league, and Bayern could not have asked for a better opponent at this point in time.
Pal Dardai and his side are coming off a disappointing 4-2 loss against Werder Bremen and now find themselves in a position where they need a result at the Allianz Arena. The trip to Bavaria is their toughest game of the campaign and could not have come at a worse time.
Tuchel is yet to show that he is the man for the occasion and will need to win over the Bayern fanbase. A win over Hertha is unlikely to shift belief but is as good a place to start as any. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
Team News & Tactics
🗣️ Tuchel: "Hertha are a bit of an unpredictable opponent, with their recent change of coach. It's just one more reason for us to focus fully on ourselves. The situation is crystal clear. We need to take on this fight and see it as an even battle. We need to deliver." #FCBBSC pic.twitter.com/glWDpDGT5M
— FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN) April 28, 2023
Both Lucas Hernandez and Manuel Neuer will miss out due to their long-term injuries. Thomas Tuchel also has to contend with injuries to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Alphonso Davies. The former is nursing a knee injury, while the latter continues to recover from a thigh issue. Both face a race against time to be fit for the tie. Dayot Upamecano also misses out with an injury.
With Sadio Mane not back in the fold, Tuchel has a strong roster to choose from, despite the absentees. The German will be aware that his actions are under the microscope following a less than stellar start to life in Bavaria.
Bayern are comfortably the better side on paper and will go into the game as heavy favorites. Another slip up, especially at home, could very well turn the screws on Tuchel. As Julian Nagelsmann found out, being good enough is never enough at the Allianz Arena.
Tuchel should retain the 4-2-3-1 formation with Yan Sommer in goal. Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs de Ligt will form the defensive core with Josip Stanisic and Joao Cancelo starting out wide.
Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are expected to form the double pivot, with the latter pushing forward when given the opportunity to form a 4-1-4-1 formation. Jamal Musiala should don the role of the number 10 with Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman on the wings. Sadio Mane should start up top and be the spearhead for the home side.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Stanisic, Pavard, de Ligt, Cancelo; Kimmich, Goretzka; Coman, Musiala, Sane; Mane
The bottom side have a real fight on their hands to stave off relegation and go into the game as serious underdogs. Pal Dardai has his work cut out against the best side in German football, and it will come as a surprise should they even pick up a point from the game.
Hertha will be without Suat Serdar and Marc-Oliver Kempf. Both players are suspended for the game, making Hertha’s challenge harder than it already was. It is not all bad news as Filip Uremovic is back available having served his own suspension.
More so, Marco Richter, Marton Dardai, Stevan Jovetic, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Kelian Nsona are absent for the game owing to injury. Given the challenges, Dardai is likely to deploy his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
ℹ️ The following players will be missing for #FCBBSC:
🚑 Márton Dárdai
🚑 Marco Richter
🏋️ Kélian Nsonsa
🚫 Marc Kempf
🚫 Suat Serdar#HaHoHe pic.twitter.com/94QDRAiLpa
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) April 28, 2023
Oliver Christensen should start in goal behind the back four of Peter Pekarik, Agustin Rogel, Filip Uremovic and Marvin Plattenhardt. The formation also allows the flexibility to shift to a 3-5-2 when needed.
Lucas Tousart and Tolga Cigerci should form the double pivot with Chidera Ejuke acting as the attacking midfielder. Dodi Lukebakio and Marco Richter will start out wide with Jessic Ngankam leading the attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Christensen; Pekarik, Rogel, Uremovic, Plattenhardt; Tousart, Cigerci; Lukebakio, Ejuke, Richter; Ngankam
- The last time Bayern Munich lost at home to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga was in 1977. This run of 27 games is dwarfed only by Bayern’s home record of 30 games unbeaten at home vs Borussia Monchengladbach from 1966-1994.
- Bayern are currently enjoying their worst point tally at this stage of the season in the last 12 campaigns.
- This is the first time since 2011/12 that Bayern are not top of the Bundesliga standings after matchday 29.
- With 22 points from 29 games, this is Hertha Berlin’s joint-worst campaign in the league in the three point era. They last put up these numbers in 2009-10, when they were relegated.
- Thomas Tuchel has already lost as many games as Julian Nagelsmann as Bayern Munich manager this season.
Player to Watch
The German international is needed to help keep the control in midfield and he will once again be called upon to do the same on Sunday. Kimmich’s ability to also bring the ball out from the back is an excellent trait for the Die Roten side to have.
Perhaps importantly, Kimmich will need to shield an out of position Benjamin Pavard. The Frenchman is a liability when he slips up and Kimmich will need to ensure he is well protected. The German is arguably Bayern’s most important player at this moment in time.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Hertha Berlin
The disparity in quality between both the teams is vast and form can only bridge it to an extent. Bayern know that top spot is on the line and will need to successfully defend their title to salvage the campaign. Anything apart from a comfortable win will be a surprise given the gap between both teams.
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