FC Bayern Munich: Here Comes Hoffenheim...and Markus Babel!

Samrin HasibAnalyst IMarch 9, 2012

Hoffenheim 0-0 Bayern
Hoffenheim 0-0 Bayern

My absence last week meant I skipped out on the Leverkusen preview.

I am glad I did—I would have predicted a win and would have had egg on my face as a result. Now, to more serious matter, Bayern was beaten by a team that three days later was absolutely humiliated by Barcelona.

The argument one can present is that there is no shame in being humiliated by the best team in the world.

All I have to say to that is umm...7-1?

That is beyond humiliating. That score-line is almost degrading.

Bayern was poor against Leverkusen. They created chances, but Leverkusen created better ones. Had it not been for Manuel Neuer, Robin Dutt's side would not have needed 78 minutes to break the deadlock.

Bayern's desperate and ineffective attacks were eventually launched—this resulted in Leverkusen counter-attacks and a second goal via Karim Bellarabi.

Even before the Dortmund game kicked off that day, Christian Nerlinger declared that Bayern had lost the title race. Now, there's some refreshing realism! Bayern sits second currently, seven points behind the reigning champions.

Next up, they have two home games.

Bayern has won every home game in 2012 by the same score-line, 2-0. Markus Babel, who lost 4-0 with Hertha in Munich earlier in the season, will be hoping for a different outcome this time. After all, his dream job is to coach Germany's greatest ever club one day.

Bayern's previous meeting in the season with Hoffenheim ended in a 0-0 draw largely thanks to Neuer who pulled off a string of great saves.

Bayern's true leader might return to the squad this week. Jupp Heynckes is desperately hoping he can name Bastian Schweinsteiger in the squad to face Hoffenheim. Bastian will be an useful addition, even on the side-lines.

Rafinha is doubtful for this one while the two centre-backs Daniel Van Buyten and Breno are definitely ruled out.

This week also beckons the return of the Champions League with a clash against Basel.

Unless Bayern can turn things around, this will be Bayern's final match of the 2012 campaign, a campaign in which the final will be held in their very own backyard, the Allianz Arena.

And, so, its time to predict the line up. This is how I think Heynckes' troops will line up:

Keeper: Manuel Neuer

Defense: Jerome Boateng—Luiz Gustavo—Holger Badstuber—Philipp Lahm

Defensive Mids: Toni Kroos—Anatoliy Tymoshchuk

Attacking Mids: Arjen Robben—David Alaba—Franck Ribery

Striker: Ivica Olic

Yes, I think Mario Gomez will get some much needed bench time.

The official Bayern website released a statement this week fully backing Heynckes and dismissing any reports of an imminent sacking. So, for now, Jupp's job is safe...or perhaps its safe until Bayern gets knocked out of the CL which is a real possibility this week.

And, now, its prediction time:

Prediction: Bayern 2-0 Hoffenheim