Bayern Munich will be eager to start their new year with an away win against Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga as they chase league leaders, RB Leipzig.
The Bundesliga is back after the winter hiatus and record champions Bayern Munich will travel to the capital to face Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion on Sunday.
The Bavarians are seven points adrift of table-toppers RB Leipzig and have to get going now as we enter the business end of the season. Hansi Flick will look to inspire his team to continue their winning run like they won their last match 2-0 against Wolfsburg just before the break.
Meanwhile Hertha Berlin have appointed a new manager in Jurgen Klinsmann and have gone four matches unbeaten in the league with the last one ending in a 0-0 stalemate against in-form Borussia Monchengladbach.
This will be first Bundesliga match for both sides after the winter hiatus, and while Bayern Munich will look to win and reduce the gap between them and the table-toppers, Hertha Berlin will also look to carry on the good work under Klinsmann. We at The Hard Tackle will run the rule over both the teams ahead of this crucial fixture.
Tactics and Team News
Jurgen Klinsmann will have most of the players at his disposal and having signed Argentine defensive midfielder Santiago Ascacibar from second division Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart, Hertha are much more stable in midfield than earlier.
The former Germany national team head coach prefers a 4-1-4-1 formation with Norweigian custodian Rune Jarstein being the mainstay in goal. Dedryck Boyata will spearhead the backline alongside Karim Rekik at the heart of the defence while Lukas Klünter and Marvin Plattenhardt are likely to slot in as the full-backs.
Santiago Ascacibar may debut for his new club against Bayern and replace the experienced Ciljan Skjelbred in the defensive midfield role, while the four midfielders ahead of him will look to provide creativity and support to the attackers. Vladimír Darida will provide that stability in the centre of the park alongside Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic.
Dodi Lukebakio, who is in great goalscoring form with four goals and four assists and has a good record against Bayern, should start on the right wing while young Dutch winger Javairô Dilrosun will slot in on the left flank. Davie Selke will be the man leading the lines as the lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Jarstein; Klünter, Boyata, Rekik, Plattenhardt; Ascacibar; Lukebakio, Grujic, Darida, Dilrosun; Selke
Hansi Flick has received some good news ahead of this match as Robert Lewandowski who underwent a groin operation is fit to play and will travel to Berlin with the squad. However Serge Gnabry, who suffered from Achilles problem, may start from the bench while Javi Martinez and Kingsley Coman will join Lucas Hernandez, Niklas Sule on the sidelines. Also Joshua Kimmich is suspended for this fixture.
Manuel Neuer will start in goal, while Benjamin Pavard will slot in at right-back with Jerome Boateng and David Alaba set to form the centre-back partnership. Alphonso Davies will continue to shine in the left-back position.
In midfield Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka will form the double pivot and will bring in creativity and stability respectively. Thomas Muller is set to start on the right flank and will play as an inverted forward with Ivan Perisic replacing Serge Gnabry on the left. Philippe Coutinho will slot in the number 10 position just behind Robert Lewandowski who will lead the line for Bavarians.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Goretzka, Thiago; Muller, Coutinho, Perisic; Lewandowski
- Hertha Berlin have fared well against Bayern Munich recently, having lost only one out of their last six Bundesliga outings.
- The Bavarians are without a win in the last three Bundesliga away matches against Hertha Berlin (similar to RB Leipzig).
- Hertha Berlin’s Belgian forward, Dodi Lukebakio has scored five times against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga (level with his teammate Vedad Ibisevic). Only Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus has scored more against the Bavarians (7 goals).
- Bayern Munich have scored 14 goals in their last four matches in all competitions and will look to continue that form in their away fixture against Hertha Berlin.
Player to Watch
We have missed a lot of Bundesliga action in this winter hiatus and with the return of the league, we will also get to see the prolific Robert Lewandowski in action for Bayern. The Bavarians are still chasing leaders RB Leipzig and will look to grab all three points against Hertha Berlin.
Therefore Lewandowski will look to add more goals to his tally and coming from a groin operation recently the Polish international will have a lot to prove.
The 31-year old marksman has now dropped down to the second spot in Bundesliga goalscorers list after Timo Werner scored a brace and inspired Leipzig to win 3-1 against Union Berlin. The brace takes Werner to 20 goals currently while Lewandowski is still at 19 with a match in hand and the forward will look to make it count.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Hertha Berlin
The record champions had been in decent form just before the winter hiatus but the unavailability of some key players for this away clash might just leave the door open for Hertha Berlin. The Old Lady have improved massively under Jurgen Klinsmann and with players like Davie Selke and Dodi Lukebakio Bayern’s defence will be under the pump throughout the match.
However with Robert Lewandowski back in action, the Bavarians may just edge out with all three points from this dicey away fixture. We at The Hard Tackle predict a narrow 2-1 win for Bayern as the reigning champions look to reduce the gap to leaders Leipzig.