Bayern Munich will be aiming to continue their perfect start to the season as they host FC Augsburg at the Allianz Arena in the first Englische Woche fixture this campaign.
German champions Bayern Munich will be eyeing another convincing performance as they host Augsburg, in what will be the first Bavarian derby of this campaign. Additionally, this will also be the first Englische Woche fixture of the season as the matchday 5 of the Bundesliga takes place this midweek.
The hosts have started the season on an excellent note, recording a one hundred percent winning record thus far. They are also coming on the back of a solid 2-0 win against FC Schalke on the weekend and will be full of confidence going into this game. However, it will be interesting to see how Niko Kovac manages to rotate his squad with games coming thick and fast.
Indeed, Bayern will have to travel to the capital to face Hertha Berlin this weekend – just three days after their midweek fixture against Augsburg.
Speaking of Augsburg, they are coming on the back of a promising yet disappointing 3-2 defeat against Werder Bremen. Die Fuggerstadter showed excellent team spirit to come back from a 2-0 deficit to level the scoreline just after the restart before conceding an unfortunate winner later in the second half. While the result was disappointing, their performance was indeed promising, which will undoubtedly build ahead of the crucial Bavarian derby.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides before their highly anticipated clash on Tuesday evening.
Team news & tactics
Given the tight schedule, Niko Kovac will certainly look to make some changes to the side that won against Schalke on Saturday. Although he will likely retain his 4-1-4-1 formation, Renato Sanches could come into the side, replacing James Rodriguez, who has played a vital role for Bayern in their last couple of matches.
Sanches, himself, however, was wonderful against his former club Benfica last week and is finally getting some much-needed recognition under Kovac this season. The Portuguese sensation will partner Thomas Muller and Thiago in midfield, with the latter being deployed as the deep-lying midfielder. Leon Goretzka is also an option for the Croatian mastermind.
In defence, Mats Hummels will likely be given a breather with Jerome Boateng expected to return to the starting lineup. The former Man City superstar will partner Niklas Sule in central defence. Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will retain their place as the fullbacks while Manuel Neuer will start in goal.
And in attack, we could expect to see some changes with Arjen Robben coming back into the side after being rested against Schalke. He will be deployed as the right winger with Franck Ribery starting on the opposite flank while the attack will be led by Robert Lewandowski. The Polish international broke his scoring duck against Schalke by converting a penalty and he will be eager to extend his tally this midweek.
Probable lineup(4-1-4-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Sule, Alaba; Thiago; Robben, Muller, Sanches, Ribery; Lewandowski.
Augsburg coach Manuel Baum will be hoping that Fabian Giefer will produce an improved performance after making an awful error which led to the Davy Klaassen winner in the 73rd minute.
As for the defence, it looks as if though Baum will retain his 3-4-3 formation, knowing the oscillating backline will allow Augsburg to become more flexible in transition. Especially when it comes to possession phases, Die Fuggerstadter can utilize both of their pacy fullbacks to do their offensive duty whilst dropping deeper when Bayern are in possession.
However, right wing back Raphael Framberger is likely to play a deeper role, largely due to left wing back Philip Max’s superior attacking qualities and of course, his accurate crosses, which can be a treat for the tall Michael Gregoritsch. Max had a breakout campaign last season, registering 13 assists – most by any defender in the league.
In attack, the inexperienced Marco Richter is expected to be replaced with Caiuby, who bags a lot of experience in the German top flight. His speed and tenacity could give Augsburg an extra edge in counter-attacks. But most importantly, Augsburg fans will be delighted to have star striker Alfred Finnbogason return to team selection. Although the Icelandic international might not be able to start, he could certainly make a late substitute appearance this week.
Probable lineup(3-4-3 formation): Giefer; Gouweleeuw, Khedira, Hinteregger; Framberger, Koo Ja Cheol, Baier, Max; Hahn, Gregoritsch, Caiuby.
- Lewandowski has scored 18 goals in 13 Bundesliga games against Augsburg, making Die Fuggerstädter his favourite opponents.
- Bayern have won each of their last seven meetings against Augsburg with an aggregate score of 24-5.
- It is eight years since Bayern last lost a Bundesliga match during Oktoberfest, with Borussia Dortmund prevailing 2-0 in October 2010. Mats Hummels lined up in black and yellow that day.
- Augsburg’s Michael Gregoritsch has attempted more shots (14) than any other player this season. One has been scored.
- Ja-Cheol Koo has lost 12 out of 12 Bundesliga matches against Bayern. No player has faced an opponent more often without claiming a point
Player to Watch
As statistics suggest, FC Augsburg is Robert Lewandowski’s favourite victim as the Polish international has scored a whopping 18 goals in just 13 outings against Die Fuggerstadter. As a result, the former Dortmund superstar could emerge as a key figure in this contest.
While Bayern will be hoping that Lewandowski will be clinical enough to drive them to an easy victory this week, Augsburg will try their level best to make sure that the Polish hitman doesn’t get too much space in the final third. But, chances are pretty less given Lewandowski’s proven track record in front of goal, especially against Augsburg.
Furthermore, the 30-year-old has evolved his gameplay under Kovac, becoming a lot more influential in Bayern’s build-up. Therefore, Augsburg’s job will be made even more difficult as they aim to keep the dangerous Bayern attack at bay this midweek.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Augsburg
Bayern Munich are expected to easily seal all three points in this encounter given their overall individual strength as well as their fiery form, which has arguably made them the most dangerous team in Europe this season.