Bayern Munich will look to get back to winnings ways in the Bundesliga when they host newly-promoted side Union Berlin at the Allianz Arena.
Reigning champions Bayern Munich will return to Bundesliga action on Saturday when they welcome Union Berlin at the Allianz Arena.
Niko Kovac’s men are coming into this game on the back of a 3-2 win over Olympiacos in the Champions League. However, the Bavarians are winless in their last two league games with a shocking defeat against Hoffenheim followed by a 2-2 draw against Augsburg last week. Bayern will be intent on getting back to winning ways as they are just a point away from current league toppers, Borussia Monchengladbach.
Union Berlin have come a long way from fighting for promotion in the Bundesliga playoffs against Stuttgart to defeating Borussia Dortmund. Urs Fischer’s side had their most convincing win in the last matchweek when Marius Bülter and Marcus Ingvartsen scored in a 2-0 win over Freiburg. More than the goals the clean sheet was very important for Fischer’s men.
They will definitely take inspiration from their spirited performance against Dortmund in August and hope to repeat the same feat against Bayern. However, the visitors may find themselves in the relegation zone if results don’t go their way.
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Niko Kovac will not have the services of defenders like Niklas Sule, who is sidelined with an ACL tear and won’t feature this year, and Lucas Hernandez, who suffered an ankle injury in their win against Olympiacos. Jerome Boateng is set to lead the backline alongside French international Benjamin Pavard, while Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will complete the back four.
Javi Martinez, who can also play in defence is out with a thigh injury. French midfielder Corentin Tolisso, who scored the winner against Olympiacos in Piraeus, will partner Thiago Alcantara in midfield.
Thomas Muller, who also started against Olympiacos, is likely to feature from kick-off once again as Serge Gnabry could be rested by Kovac after the German winger sustained a knee injury.
Philippe Coutinho will continue playing as the creative nucleus of the side as the Brazilian is gradually starting to enjoy life in Bavaria. Robert Lewandowski will look to add more goals to his tally of 18 this season, as the Polish forward will be keen to keep his record of scoring in each Bundesliga game intact.
Bayern have looked vulnerable in defence time and again this season and without two of their best defenders the main area of concern for Kovac this weekend will again be defensive organization.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Pavard, Boateng, Alaba; Tolisso, Thiago; Müller, Coutinho, Coman; Lewandowski
The Bundesliga newcomers are just a point ahead of the automatic relegation zone but they are coming to this game on the back of a comprehensive 2-0 win over Freiburg which was their first clean sheet of the season.
Urs Fischer will be hoping that his experienced defender Neven Subotic gets back in time for this fixture after missing out their last league game. Subotic’s presence at the back will be an added advantage for the visitors, as their defence will look to prevent Lewandowski from scoring which no team in the league has managed till now.
Berlin will look to carry the same formula of playing three at the back in a 3-4-2-1 formation from the last matchday as they will once again be in search of a win. Christian Gentner will be the man with tons of experience shielding the backline and initiating buildups, starting alongside Robert Andrich.
Fischer will have the services of Sheraldo Becker as the Dutch winger returns from his injury layoff, but is unlikely to start on Saturday. Marius Bülter and Sebastian Andersson will shoulder the responsibilities of finding the net as both of them have scored three goals each and are the highest scorers for Berlin in the league.
Marcus Ingvartsen will round up the attacking unit for Union Berlin, while Fischer will have impact players like Anthony Ujah to call upon to change the course of any game.
Predicted Lineup (3-4-2-1): Gikiewicz; Friedrich, Subotic, Schlotterbeck; Trimmel, Gentner, Andrich, Lenz; Ingvartsen, Bülter; Andersson
- Bayern Munich have conceded two goals in three consecutive Bundesliga matches for the first time under Niko Kovac. The last time this happened was in 2004 under Felix Magath.
- Union haven’t won away from home since a 2-0 win at Holstein Kiel in March. They have drawn four and lost four on the road since then (spanning multiple seasons).
- Fifteen points after eight matches represent Bayern Munich’s worst start to a season in nine years.
- Union midfielder Christian Gentner has faced Bayern 22 times in the Bundesliga – more than any other currently active player.
- Robert Lewandowski already has 12 goals in the league and if he adds to his tally against Union Berlin then he will break the record of former Dortmund man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for goals in consecutive games to start a league campaign.
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The Polish marksman is arguably in the form of his life as everything he touches turns into gold. Lewandowski has been in exquisite form this season for the reigning champions. Scoring 18 goals in all competitions till now is a massive feat and scoring in every Bundesliga match so far this season tops that.
Apart from scoring goals, the 31-year old has shown great leadership qualities and a sense of responsibility has emerged with him being one of the senior members of the side. It is something new Lewandowski has developed and it has only enhanced the force which he was previously.
Having scored twice against Olympiacos, Lewandowski will be looking for more on Saturday against Union Berlin and Bayern will once again rely on their talisman to turn up.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Union Berlin
The record champions have been in good attacking form this season with the likes of Lewandowski, Gnabry etc finding the net consistently. So one can expect a high scoring game with both sides taking the attack to their opposition.
The defence is still a major concern for Bayern and there will be vulnerabilities at the back and considering Union Berlin’s opportunistic nature they may come up with an odd goal. However, the reigning champions should be able to outscore their opponents comfortably and return to winning ways in the league.