FC Bayern: Kaiserslautern Game Review and Freiburg Preview
The Champions League is just around the corner. However, it isn't time for a detailed preview just yet. For now, let's take a look back to two weeks ago, when Bayern brushed Kaiserslautern aside.
Jupp Heynckes rested Rafinha once again for this match, which was a surprise, as he didn't feature in midweek against Zurich. Heynckes later explained that Kaiserslautern is a side that is dangerous from set-pieces and contains players who use their heads a lot. Instead, Jerome Boateng started at right-back, and Daniel Van Buyten slotted into central defence.
Bayern dominated the game from the get-go and allowed Kaiserslautern just two chances, only one of which was actually a scoring opportunity and was easily dealt by Manuel Neuer and Co. Neuer was so bored that he inadvertently passed the ball to a FCK player at one point in the match.
Bayern needed a penalty to break through, though. Thomas Mueller earned it, and Mario Gomez converted from the spot.
In the second half, Mueller earned another penalty, and Gomez stepped up. The first attempt was saved; however, he scored from the rebound.
Mueller created a third for Gomez, who duly completed his hat trick. According to Heynckes, this was Bayern's best performance of the season to date. What was most impressive again was the defence, despite Van Buyten's inclusion. Rafinha is expected to return to action against Freiburg.
Bayern still has to get their attacking moves together. Plenty of attacks against FCK were impressive, but plenty also broke down. A little improvement in attack will surely see Bayern supremely confident and simply too difficult to break down.
Do you think Bayern's defence will be broken in this match?
This week, Bayern takes on opponents who have failed to beat them in recent memory. The last time Freiburg even took a point of Bayern dates back to November 2000, in 1-1 draw.
However, Freiburg gave Bayern some headaches in the last two seasons. In 2009-10, Bayern recorded two 2-1 wins against them. Last season, in the fixture in Munich, Bayern easily took Freiburg apart, 4-2. It was the last time that Martin Demichelis would score for Bayern in the Bundesliga. Edson Braafheid notably scored an own-goal.
The second fixture towards the end of the season was a gritty one. The match was heading towards a draw, but Franck Ribery earned Bayern all 3 points by scoring a superb goal in the 88th minute.
Truth be told, Bayern deserved to lose that match. Freiburg wasted a tonne of chances in that game and should have won or at least drawn. However, one needs luck to be the sort of champions that Bayern has proven to be in Germany.
They have already had their magical stroke of luck. It came on match-day 2 against plucky Wolfsburg, managed by the extremely crazy and ill-tempered Felix Magath. Wolfsburg took the lead early on through a legitimate goal by Patrick Helmes. The referee ruled the goal out as offside. Replays showed that Jerome Boateng had played the German onside.
Bayern won the match in the first minute of injury time and hasn't looked back since. As for Wolfsburg, all you need to do is read about Magath if you are interested in their current situation... or a look at the Bundesliga table might do the trick.
Freiburg finally won a match on the last match-day. They beat Wolfsburg and handed Marcus Zorg his first Bundesliga win. Zorg happens to be an engineer but chose football over engineering. According to him, matches against Bayern are always special ones, and his side will definitely 'turn up' for the game.
Papiss Demba Cisse has started the current season well. Stefan Reisinger and Felix Bastians are two players that Bayern should arguably watch out for, aside from Cisse, of course.
As far as fitness issues are concerned, Arjen Robben is as usual recovering from another one of his problems. He will most probably take a spot on the bench. Expect him to start against Villarreal on Wednesday. As Heynckes said, Bayern needs Robben to win tough Champions League games.
The small problem that Bayern might have is with Philipp Lahm and other internationals who featured in midweek, such as Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos. Fatigue could be a factor. However, I don't think I have ever seen a match in which Lahm seems even slightly tired. Kroos should start ahead of David Alaba. Alaba featured against FCK but didn't really get into the game.
Jerome Boateng might finally be rested this week. He featured in mid-week for Germany, as well, and has continually featured for Bayern. Heynckes will need him in midweek against a certain Spanish side that loves attacking other sides, irrespective of their lull against Barcelona recently. I expect Luis Gustavo to feature, as he didn't feature for Brazil despite being part of the squad.
Ivica Olic will not be around for a while. This should be the lineup: Neuer, Lahm, Van Buyten, Badstuber, Rafinha, Schweinsteiger, Gustavo, Ribery, Mueller, Kroos, Gomez.
And finally, it is prediction time!
Every week, I predict the opposition will get past Bayern at least once, but I am wrong every time. This time, I think Freiburg just might break Bayern's run of three clean sheets in the Bundesliga.
Prediction: Bayern 2-1 Freiburg
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