How Bayern Munich Will Line Up Against SC Freiburg

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2014

Bayern Munich's head coach Pep Guardiola, left, attends a training session at the ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)
Osama Faisal/Associated Press

With the DFB Pokal Cup firmly in Bayern Munich's grasp following a tremendous 5-0 win over poor Hamburg this week, the league leaders turns their attention back to the Bundesliga with a tricky home tie Saturday against proverbial underdogs Freiburg at the Allianz Arena. 

Yet Pep Guardiola will be wary with the return of the Champions League, a competition Bayern will hope to defend to the bitter end, on Wednesday with a tricky tie against Arsenal in the back of most of his players' minds. 

Yet that doesn't mean Catalonian coach is likely to take his foot of the domestic pedal.

When it comes to defence, Guardiola should be inclined to keep things as they are, considering the club's current run of seven clean sheets in their last nine games. The back four will have Rafinha on the right and David Alaba on the left, while Jerome Boateng and Dante continue their fruitful partnership in the middle.

Yet 15th-place Freiburg have been notoriously poor in front of goal this season, having failed to score in an incredible five of their last seven matches in the Bundesliga, which could tempt the Bayern coach to trying different systems at the back. 

Against Hamburg on Wednesday night Javi Martinez was introduced in place of Boateng in the second half and spent a significant amount of time in the centre-back position—a role many have speculated as Martinez's ideal spot under Guardiola. 

We may yet see the Spaniard dropped in as a surprise defender against Freiburg as his coach continues to mould him into something besides the cultured midfielder that he was last season. Bayern may have a strong squad, but they could certainly use another strong defender in Martinez. 

This should lead us to believe that club captain Philipp Lahm will keep his spot in midfield for the time being, probably alongside the duo of Thiago Alcantara and Toni Kroos in the typical trio formation.

Thiago, in particular, has been in outstanding form, and leading up to the Arsenal game next Wednesday, we can expect Guardiola to keep a strong midfield with the intention of ensuring that standards are kept at their record high. 

Bastian Schweinsteiger also made a late entry in the cup game this week and will be eager to regain his spot in the centre of midfield, yet total match fitness may well be just beyond him for now. Expect to see the Bayern vice captain at some point in the game, but it wouldn't seem likely to see him start on Saturday. 

Guardiola's intent to keep Bayern fighting fit will undoubtedly extend to the front attacking three as the side has scored at least two goals in their last 12 games in the Bundesliga.

This will mean the return of Mario Goetze on the left-hand side in the injured Franck Ribery's place and Arjen Robben on the right, where he caused so much damage and frustration for Hamburg in their last game. 

As such we should also expect to see Mario Mandzukic, the scorer of two goals for Bayern on Wednesday night, retake his rightful spot at the head of his side's potent attack.

For poor Freiburg, the task at hand is all but impossible. Even with Arsenal around the corner, we shouldn't expect anything but typical excellence from the Bavarian champions.