SV Darmstadt 98 vs Bayern Munich: Preview and Prediction

Bayern Munich will look to keep the faint hopes of winning the Bundesliga title alive when they face SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday.

The 2023/24 Bundesliga season resumes this week with Matchday 26. The latest round of fixtures gets underway on Friday with the game between FC Koln and RB Leipzig. The action on Saturday will kick off with five simultaneous games, one of those being the match between SV Darmstadt 98 and Bayern Munich at Merck-Stadion am Bollenfalltor.

Darmstadt would have hoped to finish in the lower midtable after returning to the Bundesliga with a second-place finish in the second division. But they have been, by far, the worst team in the top tier, winning only twice in 25 outings while losing 16 times. But all hope is not lost yet, with 16th-placed Koln only five points clear.

As for Bayern Munich, they have also endured a disappointing 2023/24 campaign thus far. The Bavarian giants are at risk of finishing a campaign without a trophy for the first time in over a decade. Their best hope is winning the UEFA Champions League, where they are not one of the favourites to win. As for matters in the Bundesliga, they are ten points behind the high-flying Bayer Leverkusen, with less than ten games left in the season.

The reverse fixture saw Bayern Munich cruising to an 8-0 win over Darmstadt, with Harry Kane scoring a match-winning hat-trick. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

SV Darmstadt 98

Torsten Lieberknecht has several fitness issues hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Bayern Munich on Saturday, the SV Darmstadt 98 manager will be bereft of the services of as many as seven first-team players.

Captain Fabian Holland is recovering from a concussion and might not be fit enough to start on Saturday. In addition, Matthias Bader (hamstring), Clemens Riedel (ankle), Fabian Nurnberger (ankle), Marvin Mehlem (broken leg), Braydon Manu (match fitness), and Fraser Hornby (ankle) remain in the treatment room.

Marcel Schuhen should take his spot between the sticks, with Darmstadt lining up in a 5-4-1 formation in front of him against Bayern Munich. The backline should feature Christoph Klarer, Christoph Zimmermann, Matej Maglica, Emir Karic, and Tim Skarke, with Karic and Skarke looking to remain compact during the defensive phases.

As for the midfield unit, Tobias Kempe and Bartol Franjic will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park. Julian Justvan and Gerrit Holtmann should be the two wide midfielders, with the duo providing the forward thrust. Finally, Sebastian Polter will likely lead the line for the home side against Bayern Munich.

Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Schuhen; Skarke, Klarer, Zimmermann, Maglica, Karic; Justvan, Kempe, Franjic, Holtmann; Polter

Bayern Munich

Like his counterpart in the SV Darmstadt dugout, Thomas Tuchel has several issues to deal with ahead of the trip to Merck-Stadion am Bollenfallter. The Bayern Munich manager will be without five first-team players on Saturday.

Tuchel is sweating over the availability of Alphonso Davies, who lost two of his teeth in an on-field collision last week against Mainz. In addition, Noussair Mazraoui is closing in on returning from his hamstring injury. But Saturday’s game will have come too soon for him. Tarek Buchmann (thigh), Bouna Sarr (knee), and Kingsley Coman (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Bayern Munich will line up in the 4-2-3-1 formation against SV Darmstadt, with Manuel Neuer taking his usual spot between the sticks. The defensive unit will likely feature Joshua Kimmich, Matthijs de Ligt, Eric Dier, and Raphael Guerreiro.

As for the midfield unit, the highly-rated Aleksandar Pavlovic will line up alongside Leon Goretzka in the double pivot. Thomas Muller will reprise his usual no. 10 role, with Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane, and Harry Kane completing the numbers in the final third.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, de Ligt, Dier, Guerreiro; Pavlovic, Goretzka; Sane, Muller, Musiala; Kane

Key Stats

  • Darmstadt held Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw in the first-ever meeting between the two sides in the Bundesliga. But they have lost the subsequent eight clashes.
  • With 13 points and a -36 goal difference after 25 games, Darmstadt’s record is the second-worst at this stage of a Bundesliga season during the three-points-for-a-win era. Only Schalke 04 had fewer (10 in 2020/21).
  • Bayern Munich have the best attack in the Bundesliga this season, scoring 73 goals in 25 appearances thus far.
  • Darmstadt have failed to win 18 successive Bundesliga games (D6 L12), a club record.
  • The six teams that have previously had 13 points at most after 25 matches have all suffered relegation. Darmstadt are currently on 13.

Player to Watch

Aleksandar Pavlovic

Embed from Getty Images

Harry Kane will invariably be under the spotlight on Saturday, while Leroy Sane will be eager to end his dry run in the Bundesliga, having not found the back of the net in 15 top-flight outings. But we have picked Aleksandar Pavlovic after an excellent 2023/24 campaign with Bayern Munich.

While the Bundesliga champions have faltered thus far this term, the 19-year-old has made his mark in the middle of the park, proving his credentials as the long-term first-choice midfielder. His exploits have also earned him a spot in Germany’s squad for this month’s international break. Expect him to put up an even better performance after receiving the good news this week.


SV Darmstadt 0-4 Bayern Munich

Darmstadt will be hurting amid a crippling winless run in the Bundesliga. But after Bayern Munich showed positive signs last week, the hosts are running into an awoken beast. So, Saturday’s match has all signs of being a one-sided encounter, with Thomas Tuchel and his charges cruising to a 4-0 win that will deepen the fan outrage at Merck-Stadion am Bollenfalltor.

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