David Alaba is back!
The international break was cruel. Holger Badstuber, Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and the rest of the Bayern stars will be coming back dejected following a rather bizarre 4-4 draw against Sweden. The result would have been more acceptable had the match been a close affair for ninety minutes. The match was never an even contest considering Germany dominated the first hour and Sweden the remainder.
Franck Ribery will be returning happily after assisting Olivier Giroud’s equalizer for France against the Spaniards. Arjen Robben will be unhappy due to his persistent injury problems. Alaba will be an extremely happy person. In his first match for club or country this season, he assisted on two goals for Austria and scored one against Kazakhstan.
One of the defenders thus might be afforded a well-deserved rest on a day in which Bayern will try to break another record—the record for the largest number of wins at the start of a season. The current record—held by Bayern (duh!), Mainz and Kaiserslautern—is seven wins.
Fortuna Düsseldorf has relied on a strong defence this season. They have conceded the second-least number of goals, a measly three (Bayern has conceded the least). Their keeper Fabian Giefer has produced some dazzling displays. Düsseldorf has also shown fight at the other end. When Schalke was beating them 0-2, they switched the game around and drew 2-2.
One of their players happens to be in the top scorers’ list. He is indeed quite exceptional. Every goal he scores seems to be special. Danni Schahin is his name. He was the man who won Düsseldorf their first game of the season. He has scored four out of six of Düsseldorf’s goals.
In terms of major trophies, Düsseldorf has two that have come recently—two DFB Pokals earned in 1979 and 1980. They haven’t claimed the Bundesliga. They were a force, though, in the days when the Bundesliga was the "German championship." Bayern last met Fortuna in 1997 and won 5-0.
Bayern was also the opponent to first play Düsseldorf in their new stadium, the Espirit Arena, in 2005. They won 5-1 that day. For the first two home games this season, the Espirit Arena was a lonely sight due to bans imposed by the DFB following the issues in last season’s playoff against Hertha BSC. In 2005, the Allianz Arena was also opened.
Düsseldorf gave Bayern their biggest hammering to date in 1978 when they ran out 7-1 winners. They will be hoping to conjure up old memories as they try to become the first team to take something away from Bayern. In fact, Düsseldorf’s game is perhaps perfectly fashioned to take something from this encounter.
Fortuna relies on a strong defence; their main aim is to frustrate the opponent. Bayern, when frustrated, can become poor and lose sight of their goal. Their last two Bundesliga performances haven’t been impressive. The game against Hoffenheim was a bit dull while the one before that against Bremen was messy.
Bayern will try to score an early goal, especially keeping in mind that an extremely important tie against Lille awaits on Tuesday. Jupp Heynckes can afford to make changes ahead of that match. He has to ensure that his best eleven is out there on Tuesday.
Bastian Schweinsteiger played both matches for Germany. Javier Martinez also featured. Javi might start this one to give the vice-captain a rest. Müller can also be rested after starting both of his country’s games. Ribery might also be granted a rest along with Mario Mandzukic who featured for Croatia and scored.
This could be the line-up:
Philipp Lahm- Holger Badstuber- Jerome Boateng- David Alaba
Bastian Schweinsteiger/Javi Martinez- Luiz Gustavo
Thomas Müller- Toni Kroos- Xherdan Shaqiri
Bayern has to be patient in this matchup. Only Jupp Heynckes can care about the game against Lille because the team will have to be focused on holding their nine-point lead over Dortmund. If Schalke gets something in the Ruhr derby this weekend, the gap could widen.
Prediction: Düsseldorf 0-1 Bayern
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