Bayern Munich will be searching for their second consecutive win in the Bundesliga on Saturday as they host 1. FC Nuernberg at the Allianz Arena.
While Saturday’s Revierderby will undoubtedly attract the most attention in this weekend’s round of fixture in the Bundesliga, the Bavarian derby between Bayern Munich and 1. FC Nuernberg could be an important match for the German champions as they look to close the gap from league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Niko Kovac’s men are coming on the back of a convincing 2-1 win over Werder Bremen last weekend. But, their porous defence will be a cause for concern for the Croatian mastermind as Bayern have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last nine matches in the Bundesliga. A rather disappointing record for a team that are expected to challenge for the Champions League.
On the flip side, Nuernberg have struggled in the top flight, after initially gaining promotion at the start of this season. Der Klub have only mustered 11 points in 13 games so far and their last victory came against Fortuna Dusseldorf at the backend of September. Michael Kollner’s men also have the leakiest defence in the league, having conceded 30 goals in 13 matches
But, they are coming on the back of a promising draw with Bayer Leverkusen in their last game and Bayern’s mixed form coupled with the added exposure of the derby could potentially influence Nuernberg to pull off a huge upset this weekend.
And, here at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides ahead of their crucial encounter on Saturday.
Team news & tactics
Kovac will be delighted to have Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman back in action. Both the players appeared as a substitute last weekend and are in contention to start against Nuernberg. However, Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez will still remain on the sidelines.
Mats Hummels, on the other hand, might once again have to settle for a place on the bench after reportedly having a rift with Kovac. This will pave the way for Niklas Sule to start alongside Jerome Boateng at the heart of the Bayern defence.
Joshua Kimmich could return to his customary right-back position, thanks to the return of Thiago Alcantara. The Spanish international will be deployed at the base of Bayern’s 4-2-3-1 alongside Leon Goretzka, who has impressed in recent weeks.
As for Thomas Muller, he will operate as the lone attacking midfielder, where he will be supported by the wide-duo of Serge Gnabry and Franck Ribery. Both Arjen Robben and Kingsley Coman are doubtful and unlikely to start.
Robert Lewandowski will be leading the attack for the Bavarians, looking to extend his scoring tally against the leaky defence of Nuernberg.
Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Boateng, Alaba; Goretzka, Alcantara; Gnabry, Muller, Ribery; Lewandowski.
1. FC Nuernberg
Nuernberg coach Michael Kollner is unlikely to make any significant changes to the side that secured a 1-1 draw with Leverkusen last time out.
Fabian Bredlow will continue to deputize for the injured Christian Mathenia in goal while Georg Margreitter, who scored the only goal for his side in the draw with Leverkusen, will start alongside Lukas Muhl in central defence.
Tim Leibold has shown some promise this season and will be deployed in the left-back position while Werder Bremen loanee Robert Bauer starts on the opposite flank.
Ondrej Petrak will start at the base of Nuernberg’s 4-4-2 alongside captain Hanno Behrens. Both the midfielders, however, will require substantial support from wide midfielders in Sebastian Kerk and Virgil Misidjan.
And finally, in attack, Mikael Ishak will lead the line along with Japanese forward Yuya Kubo. However, we could Adam Zrelak to make a late appearance in the second half.
Probable lineup (4-4-2): Bredlow; Bauer, Muhl, Margreitter, Leibold; Kerk, Behrens, Petrak, Misidjan; Ishak, Kubo.
- Bayern have tasted only two defeats in their last 38 matches at the Allianz Arena.
- Nuernberg are winless in their last seven games in the Bundesliga.
- Behrens, Mikael Ishak, Federico Palacios and Adam Zrelak have scored more than half of Der Club’s 14 goals this season, with two apiece. Bayern have netted 25.
- Nuernberg are the worst away team in the Bundesliga this season, claiming only two of their 11 points on the road.
- Only one of Bayern top scorer Robert Lewandowski’s seven goals this season have come at home.
Player to watch
All eyes will be on Manuel Neuer in this one, as the German international has struggled in the Bundesliga this season, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of his last nine matches.
But, he will be presented with the golden opportunity to preserve a clean sheet against a Nuernberg side that has scored 14 goals this term – which is among the worst in the league.
At the same time, Neuer also needs to be on his toes as any mishap could allow Der Klub to register another upset this weekend. Mikael Ishak, in particular, will provide a stern test and dealing with his physicality will be a challenge for the former World champion.
Bayern Munich 2-0 1. FC Nuernberg
Bayern Munich are definitely favourites to bag all three points this weekend, especially after a convincing performance against Bremen last time out. We can also expect the German champions to preserve an elusive clean sheet against a blunt Nuernberg attack.