Bayern Munich will aim for a swift recovery following their defeat to Borussia Dortmund as they host Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday.
It’s almost needless to say that Bayern Munich are facing a huge crisis at the moment, thanks to a dreadful start to the season. And an embarrassing defeat to Borussia Dortmund added more salt to their wounds, with Niko Kovac officially on thin ice now.
Indeed, the Bavarians are languishing at fifth place on the league table, seven points behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund. Therefore, a win could be imperative as they aim to catch up to the league leaders.
That being said, defence remains a worry for Kovac, with Bayern keeping only two clean sheets in their last eleven matches. Mats Hummels has fared well but inconsistent performances from the likes of Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng haven’t helped their cause.
Fortuna Dusseldorf, on the other hand, have failed to impress in the top flight this campaign, having secured only two wins in eleven matches. However, their recent win came against Hertha Berlin in the last game as Benito Raman’s excellent performance guided them to a shocking 4-1 triumph against the Berliners.
Much like Bayern, defence has been the main issue for Dusseldorf this season as they have conceded more goals than any other team in the league so far. But, they have also failed to found the back of the net on a regular basis, scoring just ten goals, four of which came in the win over Berlin.
Here at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides ahead of their exciting matchup this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Bayern suffered a huge blow during the international break as Colombian superstar James Rodriguez was ruled out with a long-term injury. He has joined the likes of Thiago and Corentin Tolisso on Bayern’s injury-list.
On the flip side, Thiago’s absence will allow new signing Leon Goretzka a chance in central midfield. He will partner Javi Martinez and Thomas Muller, who will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative spark, in the absence of Rodriguez.
In central defence, Mats Hummels is likely to start alongside Niklas Sule, meaning Jerome Boateng will once again have to contend with a place on the bench. David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich are going to occupy the fullback roles with Manuel Neuer in goal.
The attack will be led by Robert Lewandowski, who scored a brace in the defeat to Dortmund. He will be supported by the wide-duo of Franck Ribery and Serge Gnabry, who has impressed this season and will one of the players worth looking forward to.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez; Gnabry, Muller, Goretzka, Ribery; Lewandowski
Despite a 4-1 win over Berlin, Dusseldorf coach Friedhelm Funkel is likely to revert to a five-man backline, which has proved effective against big clubs in the past.
As a result, Kaan Ayhan will return to the starting lineup, playing alongside Marcin Kaminski and Robin Bormuth in central defence. All of them will operate in deep blocks as they aim to contain the mighty Bayern attack.
Jean Zimmer and Niko Giesselmann will be deployed as the wingbacks. Both of these players will play a key role on the flanks, although they are likely to spend most of the time defending in their own half. Zimmer, in particular, could even move into central areas of the pitch in order to operate as an auxiliary centre-back.
Dusseldorf’s midfield will comprise of Mathias Zimmermann, Adam Bodzek and Kevin Stoger, all of whom will form the second and arguably the most important block. They will try to press intensively throughout the game in an attempt to cut out Bayern’s passing lanes as well as feeding their wide players on the counter.
And finally, Dodi Lukabakio and Rouwen Hennings will be leading Dusseldorf’s attack this weekend. Hennings, in particular, could be key as his impressive work-ethic will be useful as the visitors look to restrict the Bayern centre-backs from playing the ball out from the back.
Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Rensing; Zimmer, Bormuth, Ayhan, Kaminski, Giesselmann; Zimmermann, Bodzek, Stoger; Hennings, Lukebakio
- Twenty points is Bayern Munich’s lowest return after 11 matches since 2010/11, when they finished second to Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund.
- Takashi Usami and Michael Rensing will be facing their former club this weekend.
- Bayern Munich boast an excellent record at home, losing only twice in their last 38 games at the Allianz Arena.
- Düsseldorf are winless in their last 19 Bundesliga away matches, dating back to 2012/13.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored seven goals this season, three less than what the entire Dusseldorf team have managed this season.
Player to Watch
It clearly hasn’t been an enjoyable season for Robert Lewandowski so far, with the Polish international often struggling with lack of service upfront. Yet, he has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise dire campaign thus far and his services will once again be crucial as Bayern look to oust the visitors this weekend.
Dusseldorf will be defending in deep-blocks, meaning Lewandowski could once again lack service, making this an intriguing contest for the former Dortmund superstar.
But, he definitely has the quality to terrorize a defence that has already conceded 25 goals this campaign and it will be interesting to see how he performs this weekend.
Bayern Munich 4-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf
International breaks have worked out quite well for Bayern in the past and this month will be no different. We can expect the Bavarians to go out all guns blazing in this one against a lacklustre Dusseldorf defence, which could very well help them initiate a swift recovery.