Bayern Munich will look to move one step closer to retaining the league title as they host Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Bayern Munich’s extraordinary run of form since the turn of the year has seen them overtake Borussia Dortmund and with just five matches remaining till the end of the season, the Bavarians have an excellent chance of retaining their Bundesliga title.
However, after a tricky test against Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend, the league leaders will host Werder Bremen, who are currently the only German team to remain unbeaten this calendar year.
In fact, Bremen’s last defeat came against RB Leipzig back in December last year. Although Die Grunweissen haven’t exactly been on a long winning stretch, their unbeaten record has helped them challenge for the Europa League places, with the Northern giants trailing sixth-placed Hoffenheim by just one point.
As for Bayern, they have an identical record as Werder, having won four and drawn one in their last five league matches. They are on a remarkable scoring run, however, plundering 21 goals in their last five matches in all competitions.
This could be a problem for Bremen, whose last clean sheet in the league came way back in February, during a 4-0 win over FC Augsburg.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both the sides ahead of their enticing Bundesliga match-up on Saturday.
Team News & Tactics
Manuel Neuer has been ruled out for the rest of the month with an injury, meaning Sven Ulreich is likely to be the man in between the sticks for Bayern this weekend.
We could also expect a few more changes in defence, with coach Niko Kovac having one eye on the all-important DFB Cup semi-final match against the same opposition. Therefore, Mats Hummels could be rested, with Jerome Boateng coming in while Rafinha will replace David Alaba in the left-back slot.
As for Boateng, he will likely be partnered by the ever-present figure of Niklas Sule at the heart of the four-man Bayern backline. Joshua Kimmich, on the other hand, is a guaranteed starter in the right-back position.
Javi Martinez has been a mainstay in the Bayern midfield, of late and the Spaniard is sure to be included in the starting lineup alongside his compatriot Thiago Alcantara.
They will form the double-pivot in midfield while we expect Leon Goretzka to get the nod in a slightly advanced midfield role, which, in turn, will force Thomas Muller to revert to the right wing position, Serge Gnabry should start on the opposite flank.
Kingsley Coman and James Rodriguez will provide Kovac with additional attacking options while the Bayern Munich attack will be led by the league’s top goalscorer in Robert Lewandowski.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ulreich; Kimmich, Sule, Boateng, Rafinha; Martinez, Alcantara; Muller, Goretzka, Gnabry; Lewandowski.
Fin Bartels is the only injury-related absentee for Werder Bremen in their trip to Bavaria although Philipp Bargfrede is a doubt, which could pave way for Nuri Sahin to start in midfield.
The Turkish international will be deployed at the base of Bremen’s 4-3-1-2, alongside Maximilian Eggestein and Davy Klaassen, who has been involved in nine goals this season. The former Ajax captain will operate in a slightly advanced role while the duo of Sahin and Eggestein will be crucial in neutralizing the threat of Thiago and Goretzka in midfield.
Max Kruse, on the other hand, will operate as the lone attacking midfielder, just in behind the main attacking duo of Yuya Osako and Milot Rashica, who has been one of the deadliest attackers in the Bundesliga in this calendar year. In fact, the young Kosovo international has been involved in 11 goals this season, six of which came in the last five matches.
Minimal changes are expected in defence, with coach Florian Kohfeldt likely to stick with his trusted defensive duo of Milos Veljkovic and Niklas Moisander. Theodore Gebre-Selassie will also retain his place in the right-back slot while Ludwig Augustinsson will continue on the opposite flank.
Jiri Pavlenka will be the man in between the sticks for the visiting Werder and the Slovakian keeper will be expecting a busy afternoon against the mighty Bayern Munich attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Pavlenka; Gebre-Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson; Eggestein, Sahin, Klaassen; Kruse; Osako, Rashica.
- This will be Bayern’s 106th Bundesliga match against Werder Bremen – they’ve played no other team as often in the top flight.
- Bayern are currently on a 15-game winning streak against Werder Bremen in all competitions.
- Bayern have scored at least 4 goals in their last 3 home matches and kept six clean sheets in their last eight.
- Werder Bremen are undefeated in their last 12 matches. They have also won five of their last six in all competitions.
- Bayern have seen over 2.5 goals in 9 of their last 10 home matches against Werder Bremen in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Any mishap from Bayern’s end will allow Borussia Dortmund to crawl their way back into the title race and the Black and Yellow camp will be hoping that Bremen’s star forward Milot Rashica comes up with some magic to stir the Bavarian defence this weekend.
As iterated earlier, Rashica is currently one of the most in-form Bundesliga players and his ability to get in behind the defence coupled with his accurate finishing makes him a dangerous component in the Werder attack.
Bayern defenders have already struggled against pacy and dynamic attackers throughout the course of this campaign, thus making Rashica their main threat as they look to continue their excellent run of form.
Bayern Munich 4-2 Werder Bremen
Bremen have always been an attack-minded team and considering their form coming into this match, we expect the Northern giants to test the Bayern defence this weekend. However, much like their opponents, the hosts are also coming on the back of a sensational run of form and their superior individual quality could help them outscore Die Grunweissenn in this riveting encounter.