FC Bayern Munich: A Look Ahead to the Third Bavarian Derby of the Season
Bayern has already contested two Bavarian derbies this season and won them in convincing fashion. Jahn Regensburg had no answers in the DFB Pokal for their illustrious opponents and were beaten 4-0. Greuther Furth on the opening match-day of the season lost out 0-3. Nurnberg will provide a tougher challenge than those previous sides.
Bayern vs. Nurnberg is rarely spectacular. The matches turn out to be one sided more often than not in Bayern's favour. When they are not one sided, they are "gritty" matches. Take the last meeting between the two—Bayern won out by a single goal after failing to break the deadlock various times due to Nurnberg's back line.
Nurnberg started the season well enough but has fallen away since. They played Mainz on the Friday match last week and lost 2-1. One player who has been particularly impressive for Nurnberg is the centre-back Timm Klose. That hasn't stopped Nurnberg from losing out in the transfer of Philipp Wollscheid though. Nonetheless, Nurnberg still remains gritty and is extremely hard to beat. They can play some good football too just like every other Bundesliga side.
Bayern meanwhile is yet to draw a game this season. They have dropped points only once. Their away record is impeccable. They are yet to concede a goal on the road and have won all their matches. Their previous "away" opponent was HSV. Hamburg was swatted aside like a fly, 0-3. The previous match Bayern played was of-course at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bayern didn't play quite as well as they could against Die Adler following a wonderful performance in the Champions League against Lille. They were well deserving of the first goal but perhaps not of the second. The referee awarded a rather dubious penalty to Bayern when Bastian Schweinsteiger was tripped in the box (or slipped inside the box). David Alaba converted to add to Franck Ribery's effort.
Holger Badstuber was supposed to resume team training during the course of the week. So, he might be back for this one. Jerome Boateng is out of this one definitely and might be out for a while due to a hamstring injury. Luiz Gustavo missed the previous game due to injury. Thomas Muller featured for Germany in midweek in a dull 0-0 draw against the Dutch and came away uninjured.
Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos opted out of the Germany friendly due to infections. That, to be honest, sounded like nothing more than an excuse to stay away from Nigel de Jong's tackles. Both of them should be ready to go for this one. Javier Martinez could be set to feature again.
This will perhaps be the starting line-up:
Philipp Lahm, Dante, Daniel Van Buyten, David Alaba
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javier Martinez
Xherdan Shaqiri, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller
The original Mario, namely Mario Gomez, has returned! He featured in a friendly in midweek for Bayern and scored four of Bayern's five goals. One of those was a penalty. He hit the ball so hard that he broke it! Gomez nonetheless seems to have lost some muscle mass. Jupp Heynckes wasn't willing to say whether Gomez will be back on the bench this week. I think he will probably be there on Saturday.
Heynckes might be tempted to rest some of his charges ahead of perhaps the most important match of the season so far in Spain. Valencia awaits in the Champions League in midweek. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben (minus the poor finishing) will both be needed for that one. Shaqiri hasn't gotten as much playing time as his form warrants; he might thus be handed a start in this one.
Prediction: Nurnberg 1-2 Bayern
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