Bayern Munich will seek to end their cold-streak as they travel to Volkswagen Arena to face VfL Wolfsburg this Saturday.
Following a dismal start to the campaign, Bayern Munich will look to initiate a swift recovery as they face VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday. The Bavarians are currently sixth in the league table, trailing behind the likes of Hertha, Leipzig and Werder with just 13 points in seven games.
The club’s hierarchy has already voiced their discontent over Bayern’s awful start to the campaign. Thus, a win could be imperative not just for the club itself but also for under-fire coach Niko Kovac, who could potentially face the sack should Bayern fail to collect all three points this weekend.
Wolfsburg, on the other hand, are more or less on the same boat following a five-game winless run that saw them concede nine goals while scoring only five times. They are trailing Bayern by just four points, however, and a win this weekend could potentially lift them ahead of clubs like Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Lack of defensive solidity is their obvious concern but considering the fact that Bayern have failed to score in their last two league matches, they will be confident of their chances at the Volkswagen Arena this weekend. As for Bayern themselves, failing to score in this game could set an unwanted club record of failing to score in three consecutive Bundesliga matches.
And, here at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides ahead of their crucial league tie this weekend.
Team news & tactics
Wolfsburg will be missing out on the services of key midfielder Ignacio Camacho as well as defender Jeffrey Bruma and new signing Felix Klaus. Key centre-back Robin Knoche is doubtful along with Josuha Guilavogui.
However, Knoche is likely to return to full fitness before the game. But, should he fail to do so, we can expect Felix Uduokhai to deputize him in central defence. He will partner John Anthony Brooks at the heart of the Wolfsburg back-four while William and Jerome Roussillon will occupy the wider defensive roles.
Marcel Tisserand will deputize for the injured Ignacio Camacho, whose ability to read the game could have been useful against an underperforming Bayern side. Tisserand will team up with Maximilian Arnold at the base of Wolfsburg’s 4-2-3-1 with Yunus Malli being deployed as the lone attacking midfielder.
Renato Steffen has added some much-needed spark in the attack this season and will be starting as the right-sided winger. His clever positioning coupled with his dynamism will be important as Wolfsburg are likely to resort to a counter-attacking philosophy against the mighty Bavarians. Josip Brekalo will be deployed on the opposite flank.
And finally, the Wolves attack will be led by none other than Wout Weghorst. The new signing from AZ Alkmaar forward has proved to become a useful addition, thanks to his excellent work ethic and tireless attitude – qualities that could surely trouble the vulnerable Bayern defence this weekend.
Probable lineup(4-2-3-1): Casteels; William, Knoche/Uduokhai, Brooks, Roussillon; Tisserand, Arnold; Steffen, Malli, Brekalo; Weghorst.
Bayern Munich are struggling with the lack of form from their key individuals going into this game. Manuel Neuer, in particular, hasn’t been able to perform well in the last few matches and certainly needs to bugger up in this crucial encounter against Wolfsburg.
Jerome Boateng, on the other hand, has suffered a muscular injury while on international duty with Germany. He will be lacking match fitness and will be replaced by Niklas Sule, who will partner Mats Hummels in central defence. Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will occupy the wider defensive roles.
James Rodriguez is likely to be demoted to the bench after returning late from a trip with the Colombian national team. As a result, Thiago Alcantara will fill his void in central attacking midfield, starting alongside Thomas Muller with Javi Martinez operating as the lone number six.
Serge Gnabry is unlikely to be given a starting berth despite making a good impression in the last few matches. Therefore, Kovac will opt for the trusted duo of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery on the flanks. Both of these veteran attackers have struggled with form in this new season and are in dire need of a comprehensive display against Wolfsburg.
The Bayern attack will be led by none other than Robert Lewandowski – the Polish international, who famously scored five goals in nine minutes against the same opponents just over three years ago. It will be interesting to see what measures do Wolfsburg employ in order to prevent the former Dortmund superstar this weekend.
Probable lineup(4-1-4-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez; Robben, Muller, Thiago, Ribery; Robert Lewandowski.
- Bayern have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 matches against Wolfsburg in all competitions.
- Both of these teams are winless in their last four matches in all competitions.
- The defending champions last occupied a place outside the top five at this stage in a season in 2010/11
- Wolfsburg coach Bruno Labbadia has lost 12 of his 13 meetings with Bayern as a coach, the 1-0 win whilst in charge of Hamburg in September 2009 being the exception.
- Bayern share an impressive record against the Wolves, winning eight of their last ten away matches.
Player to watch
It’s almost needless to say that this will be a special game not just for Robert Lewandowski but also for Wolfsburg, having been on the receiving end of a vicious cameo from the Polish international just over three years ago.
However, the tables have turned, it seems, with Lewandowski failing to score in each of his last four matches in all competitions. Although one would argue that the 30-year-old has lacked the adequate service from his teammates, Lewandowski himself has appeared tentative, of late, which is reflected in his rather bleak scoring record this season.
Therefore, he will be eager to bounce back to scoring form and a game against lowly Wolfsburg could provide him with the ideal opportunity to extend his scoring tally this weekend. He is certainly the one to look out for in this fascinating encounter.
Wolfsburg 1-2 Bayern Munich
Wolfsburg’s lack of form will serve as a perfect opportunity for Bayern to bounce back to winning form. The recently concluded international break has already given the Bavarians some ample time to gather themselves up and thus, we could expect the defending champions to secure a narrow win over the Wolves this weekend.