Bayern is coming to that point of the season where squad rotation is almost a "requirement." If Jerome Boateng's performance on Wednesday is anything to go by, some of the starters in the squad could do with a rest.
For now, there are no guarantees that Bayern will progress to the semifinals of the Champions League despite a 0-2 win over Marseille. So, nine matches remain in the season with a potential three to be added, depending on progress in the Champions League. Derbies are always special affairs and the next one might be no different.
Bayern has not won away to Nuremberg since 2005. In 2007, Ottmar Hitzfeld saw his Bayern side battered by Nuremberg in his first game in charge during his second stint as the coach of Bayern. 17 penalties were required to decide a winner between these two sides in a DFB Pokal clash in October 2003. The last two goals in the Olympiastadion—Bayern's previous home ground—were scored by Nuremberg's Samuel Slovak in a 6-3 win for Bayern.
Last season, this fixture ended 1-1 with Bayern opening the scoring through Thomas Mueller and Nuremberg equalizing through Christian Eigler. Bayern's performance in that fixture was so poor that the board sacked Louis Van Gaal the following day. Andries Jonker then took charge of the team. When Bayern played Nuremberg at the Allianz Arena this season, Bayern won 4-0.
Mario Gomez scored the first and last goal of that match while Franck Ribery was also on target. A certain Bastian Schweinsteiger scored a brilliant goal in that match. Schweinsteiger played for 20 minutes against Marseille in mid-week, picked up a yellow card and hence finds himself suspended for the second leg on Tuesday.
Daniel Van Buyten and Breno are both definitely ruled out of this one. Van Buyten is having a tough time recovering from his injury and he is certainly missed considering Bayern's lack of cover in central defence. Alexander Esswein is missing for Nuremberg. With half an hour remaining against Marseille, Jupp Heynckes took off Toni Kroos giving him some much needed rest. Thomas Mueller also came off as did Franck Ribery. Ribery suffered particularly against Marseille as the home fans booed him to no end.
So, what will the lineup for this match? I think Schweinsteiger might start:
- Manuel Neuer
- Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Rafinha
- Luiz Gustavo, Bastian Schweinsteiger
- Arjen Robben, Thomas Mueller (Toni Kroos), David Alaba
- Ivica Olic
While this might appear to be a strange lineup and the chances of this occurring are slim, I do expect Jupp Heynckes to rotate the squad and put in different players for the final run in of the season. A narrow win will suffice for Bayern. In any case, the chances of winning the Bundesliga are slim considering the fact that Bayern is trailing BVB by five points. The goal at this point is perhaps to secure second place.
Prediction: Nuremberg 1-1 Bayern