FC Bayern Munich: A Wounded Side Arrives at the Allianz Arena
The loss against BATE hurt Bayern Munich.
A wounded Bayern will take to the pitch on Saturday in Munich. However, the team they will face is even more wounded than they are. A teammate of theirs is fighting for his life. Currently, football is the last thing on the players' minds.
Last week, Hoffenheim played Augsburg in a dull 0-0 draw. The Augsburg players wore shirts to show their support for their opponent’s player. Hoffenheim players seemed disinterested. The supporters rarely cheered their team. They kept singing for Boris Vukcevic who lies in an induced coma in hospital after a car accident.
The images of Vukcevic’s car were extremely graphic. The front portion of his car seemed to have "melted." He had to be cut out of the car. He is a former German U-21 international and starred alongside Lewis Holtby not too long ago. Vukcevic is apparently a diabetic. This is among many of the issues that may have led to his collision with a truck. The truck driver was also injured.
Speaking of injuries, Bastian Schweinsteiger is said to be carrying yet another one. He didn’t start against BATE to the detriment of Bayern and perhaps will not start this weekend either. He was missed against BATE immensely, showing his importance to the team.
However, Bayern could have still pulled that one out perhaps if the defensive midfield pairing had been the tried-and-tested Luis Gustavo-Toni Kroos duo instead of a completely new one featuring Gustavo alongside Javier Martinez. Martinez wasn’t really the creative head Bayern required against a team that everyone knew would defend for 90 minutes and injury time.
Nonetheless, BATE did perform greatly and nobody can take that away from them. They scored three good goals (albeit a lucky first one) and seemed to be generally untroubled by Bayern’s forays into the final third. The Bayern team had a horrible night too, and on a rather poor pitch.
Going back to the match against Hoffenheim, Bayern played them twice last season with contrasting results. Bayern came into the first meeting on the back of a 10-game unbeaten run and drew 0-0. They looked tired and Manuel Neuer produced some wonderful saves. A wounded Bayern came into the second match.
The defeats against Basel and Leverkusen had hurt them. They showed their fire as they bulldozed Hoffenheim, 7-1. The one goal Hoffenheim scored was actually an own goal. The match followed two victories for Bayern by scorelines of 7-0 and 1-6. Beating Hoffenheim was fun for Bayern—but this time that might not be the case.
Arjen Robben did not feature in midweek and thus might not on Saturday either. Javier Martinez might be left on the bench for this one. Xherdan Shaqiri could be handed a start. Rafinha has returned to the bench and could be used after Bayern’s poor defensive showing in Minsk. This could be the line-up:
Philipp Lahm—Jerome Boateng—Dante—Holger Badstuber
Toni Kroos—Luiz Gustavo
Thomas Muller—Xherdan Shaqiri—Franck Ribery
I have no idea how this match will pan out. The atmosphere at the Allianz will be great but nobody will want a Hoffenheim side that is psychologically down to take a big beating. Bayern will perhaps win but not emphatically.
Prediction: Bayern 1-0 Hoffenheim
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