How Bayern Munich Will Line Up Against FC Augsburg

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Thomas Muller and Philipp Lahm of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and  FC Bayern Muenchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With Champions League qualification all wrapped up thanks to a simple 1-0 win over Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday night, Bayern Munich can return to matters at hand in Germany with an air of confidence as they welcome modest Augsburg to their mighty Allianz Arena. 

Although Tuesday's Euro showdown was such an important game in the general concept of Bayern's defence of their Champions League title, Pep Guardiola opted for a deeply restructured starting team with a number of first-team players left on the bench to rest. 

Alas, Augsburg await with bated breath after a mixed bag of results left them somewhat comfortable above the relegation spots. Just one away win this season, but a strong victory of Mainz last week and a goal in every game will give them some hope in a game no one expects them to win.

In defence, Guardiola chose to drop both Jerome Boateng and Dante, bringing in Daniel Van Buyten and full-back Diego Contento in the middle of defence, with Rafinha once again placed at right-back. However, the coach is likely to return on Saturday with his full-strength back line, meaning a return for the aforementioned centre-backs and club captain Philipp Lahm at right-back. 

Oddly enough, Bayern's midfield was close to full strength on Tuesday with a middle trio of Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos, with Javi Martinez and Mitchell Weiser coming on later in the game to stabilise things. 

As such, Guardiola isn't likely to tamper too much with this important aspect of his midfield, with the only alteration probably coming from the reintroduction of the Spanish defensive midfield in place of Lahm, who is expected back in defence. 

When we get to the front line, things get a little harder to predict. Over the past few weeks, Guardiola has often preferred to play Thomas Muller as the lone striker, yet has had to resort to Mario Mandzukic to come on and score the goals. 

Such a situation is far from endearing to the Munich faithful, and Pep will have to be careful as to which forward he decides to opt for. He can either go with Muller and risk another failure in front of goal, or bring back Mandzukic and compromise his plans. 

Alongside whichever forward he picks, we're likely to see Franck Ribery and Mario Gotze accompany them on either wing. Both midfielders played on Tuesday and have been in fantastic form of late, making things incredible easy for the new coach. 

Bayern have had an easy run of late, but have made things unnecessarily difficult for themselves against teams such as Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim. Now that Europe can finally be put on the back burner, the expectation for Guardiola and his squad is to really turn up a gear in the Bundesliga in anticipation of the big title clash with Dortmund at the end of the month.