Records are falling left and right; everyone is starting to sit up and take notice of Bayern Munich. The so-called glory hunter fans are starting to jump on the bandwagon. Some scores, such as ones against Hannover and Mainz have already been settled. A first win in London arrived in style recently too. However, one score which needed to be settled last season has yet to be settled.
Those two words have caused Bayern fans and players more trouble in the past two seasons than most teams are capable of. Bayern, however, comes into this match in the right mind set. They rested their important stars in their match with Werder Bremen (thus making it obvious who would start the big one) and yet won by a huge margin.
Arjen Robben came in for Thomas Muller, Xherdan Shaqiri for Toni Kroos, Jerome Boateng for Daniel van Buyten, Diego Contento for David Alaba, Luiz Gustavo for Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez for Mario Mandzukic. That is, if I am correct, six changes in total.
However, Bayern B came out and battered Bremen 6-1. Bremen’s main light, Aaron Hunt, went absolutely missing. A red card at the end of the first half for Sebastian Prodl did not help Bremen’s cause at all. On the sidelines, Thomas Schaaf’s face displayed just the slightest hint of shock and dismay. Bayern was excellent. Arjen Robben was in a class of his own.
Borussia Dortmund meanwhile fell 17 points behind Bayern this week as they drew 1-1 against Borussia Monchengladbach. Jurgen Klopp surely had an eye on this match too, knowing that the Bundesliga is almost a lost cause. He loves to teach Bayern a lesson on comradeship and does not want to give any such chance a way.
However, approaching this match, Bayern could not be in better form. They are yet to drop points this year. They have won every match by at least a two-goal margin. They have conceded only twice so far. Ironically, it was a player with Chelsea connections who broke the clean sheet run in the Bundesliga in Kevin de Bruyne.
As far as team news is concerned, Franck Ribery is suspended for this clash. Mats Hummels had to go off early in BVB’s clash against Gladbach but is fit for this one. For Bayern, Holger Badstuber remains out. Rafinha is also set to miss out due to the flu.
As far as tactical details are concerned, both teams will look to press the opponent into making mistakes. Bayern will look to control possession and hence the flow of the match nonetheless. Earlier in the Allianz Arena, they did well but did not win because Toni Kroos, the scorer of a beautiful goal that day, did not pick up Mario Gotze off a corner. In a league match, that was acceptable. In a knockout cup match, such an error would surely drive Heynckes crazy.
This is the probable lineup for Bayern:
Philipp Lahm—Jerome Boateng—Dante—David Alaba
Bastian Schweinsteiger—Javier Martinez
Thomas Muller—Toni Kroos—Arjen Robben
Prediction: Bayern 1-1 Borussia Dortmund