March 14, 2015; 8:00pm IST
The seemingly unbeatable Bayern Munich visit the in-form Werder Bremen in Saturdaya s headline Bundesliga fixture at the Weserstadion, Bremen. The absence of stars Ribery and Robben will offer the hosts some consolation as they look to continue their rampant 2015 form.
The customary pre-match mind games began when Werder manager Skrypnyk suggested that referees are a bit biased towards the Bavarian giants when it comes to important decisions, with Matthias Sammer rubbishing these allegations but saying that they fear Werder Bremen nonetheless.
Here is how the teams will lineup, what to expect and a prediction for the North-South German derby.
Team News & Tactics
With just one defeat after the winter break, Werder Bremen have turned their fortunes around under Viktor Skrypnyk, and are placed 8th in the table now, potentially within sight of a European qualification spot. They entertain Bayern following a narrow but deserved 1-0 win at Freiburg last week.
Although the last game at Munich ended in a 6-0 loss, midfield dynamo Zlatko Junuzovic and young talent Davie Selke will look to lead the charge against the title holders, who will be tired after their Champions League exertions midweek. However, star hitman Franco Di Santo will not play a part in the fixture following a 5th yellow last week against Freiburg.
Apart from youngster Ozkan Yildirim and defender Alejandro Galvez, the hosts have no other injury concern. Leverkusen loanee Levin ztunali, who has impressed in his short stint at Bremen could get the nod over attack-minded Fin Bartels in midfield. Philipp Bargfrede and Felix Kroos could both feature in the all important holding role on Saturday. Werdera s best chances are likely to come from set-pieces, from which they cana t afford to be inefficient.
Possible starting lineup (4-5-1): Wolf-Selassie-Vestergaard-Pr dl-Garcia-Bargfrede-Kroos-Fritz-Junuzovic- ztunali-Selke
With 21 goals scored in their last 4 Bundesliga games, and 7 more against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, the league leaders will want to continue their fantastic scoring form against the Green-and-whites. After an initial bump, Bayern bounced back to beat Hannover 3-1 last week which put them 11 points ahead of second place Wolfsburg.
Bayern will make the trip to the north without the star players Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, both of whom picked up small knocks against Shakhtar on Wednesday. The absence of the Dutchman will certainly hurt the guests considering his 17 goal haul already this season. Xabi Alonso also misses out due to suspension following a 5th yellow card last week against Hannover, and Manuel Neuer may also be given a well deserved rest. Philipp Lahm resumed complete training last week with the team, and may make his long awaited return off the bench on Saturday. Spaniards Javi Martinez and Thiago are the other absentees for the Bavarians.
Pep Guardiola may drop his 4-1-4-1 formation in favour of a more solid midfield due to the absence of both of his regular wingers. Additionally, the fine defensive partnership between Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng could see Mehdi Benatia and Dante on the bench once again
Possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Reina-Rafinha-Boateng-Badstuber-Bernat-Schweinsteiger-Rode-Alaba-G tze-MA?ller-Lewandowski
- The last 4 matches against Bremen have ended 6-0, 5-2, 7-0 and 6-1 all in Bayerna s favour!
- Since the start of the RA?ckrunde, both Bayern and Werder have dropped exactly 5 points a a loss to Wolfsburg and a draw at Schalke
Player to watch out for
The young striker has partnered Franco Di Santo effectively, but will be the lone striker against Bayern Munich. Selke has previously proven to be a big game player by terrorizing Borussia Dortmund previously with his aerial ability, speed and target-man physique. Whether ita s a set-piece or a chance to run at the Bayern defence, Selke should cause a few concerns at the Bayern backline.
Mario G tze
In what has been a hot and cold season for the World champion, G tze has had a few magical moments by scoring some great goals but seems very peripheral on other occasions. Now with Ribery and Robben missing, G tze will look to play the role of troublemaker-in-chief and give the Werder defence a nightmare with his dribbling.
Werder 0-1 Bayern
Bremen have become Bayerna s favourite hunting grounds in the past few years, but a tired Bayern and a resurgent Werder could make the scoreline pretty respectable this time around, and perhaps even sneak in a point!