FC Bayern takes on Borussia Mönchengladbach this week as they look to complete an almost perfect first half of the season.
Last week, Bayern beat Augsburg in the Bavarian derby. They did not play as well as they can. However, that is more a testament to Markus Weinzierl’s tactical intelligence than to Bayern’s weariness. He set his team out perfectly. Augsburg played well but did not score due to the problem that has plagued them all season long—the lack of a striker to finish off chances.
Sascha Mölders has returned from injury and should have notched at least one goal against Bayern. Former Mainz man Aristide Bance has not managed to hit the ground running in Augsburg. The two teams meet again in the SGL Arena in the DFB Pokal on the 18th of December.
This week, Bayern plays one of their "boogey" sides. Gladbach beat them twice in the Bundesliga last season and managed to trouble them in the DFB Pokal semi-final as well. The first match between the two last season took place on Match Day 1. The events that day were rather strange to say the least.
A misunderstanding between Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng caused the ball to leap into the air unchallenged. Igor de Camargo gladly sent it into the back of the net. In the second encounter between the two, Gladbach won 3-1 thanks to the sheer genius of the duo of Patrick Hermann and Marco Reus. They were deadly on the counter-attack and 3-1 flattened a weary Bayern.
The meeting in the Pokal was largely an even affair. Bayern was perhaps the better of the two, but marginally so. The match went to penalties and Bayern won. Dante was amongst the players who failed to register for Gladbach.
Mönchengladbach beat Mainz by two goals last week. The second was a stunner by Juan Arango. Arango is the creative head of Gladbach and he will be looking to cause plenty of trouble for Bayern. They beat Fenerbahce 0-3 in their final Europa League match and qualified for the next phase with 11 points.
Javier Martinez was injured in training this week but is said to have recovered enough to be available for Friday. Arjen Robben and Luiz Gustavo are not ready to return to action, it seems. The squad will remain the same as that of last week, with Holger Badstuber and Emre Can being two other exceptions. Third choice keeper Lukas Raeder, meanwhile, should return soon.
Philipp Lahm- Jerome Boateng- Dante- David Alaba
Bastian Schweinsteiger- Javier Martinez
Thomas Müller- Toni Kroos- Franck Ribery
Prediction: Bayern 2-1 Mönchengladbach