Bayern Munich are hoping to get back to winning ways in the Bundesliga as they host Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Fresh from a DFL Supercup triumph over competitive rivals Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich are hoping to continue their form in the Bundesliga as they host Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.
The German record champions will be furious with themselves for failing to capitalise on Dortmund’s defeat to FC Augsburg last weekend as they slumped to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of TSG Hoffenheim. However, a narrow 3-2 win over the Black and Yellows in the DFL Supercup in midweek should serve as the ideal confidence booster heading into this clash.
The German Supercup became Bayern’s fifth title of 2020, with the Bavarians having secured the treble last season as well as the UEFA Supercup by beating Sevilla earlier this summer.
Hertha Berlin, on the other hand, have completely different hopes and expectations. The club from the capital, following an ambitious approach in the market this year, has gotten off to a disappointing start, notably getting knocked out of the DFB Pokal by Eintracht Braunschweig in the first round.
Although the Old Lady did secure a 4-1 win over Werder Bremen in their opening Bundesliga fixture, it was followed by a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will evaluate their chances against Bayern Munich as the two teams collide this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Bayern Munich rested key midfielder Leon Goretzka and defender David Alaba in the midweek game against Borussia Dortmund. Both of them are expected to return to the starting lineup, at the expense of Javi Martinez and Lucas Hernandez respectively.
Alaba should slot into the central defensive area alongside Niklas Sule, with Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies operating as full-backs. Manuel Neuer is a guaranteed starter in between the sticks.
Goretzka, on the other hand, should return to his midfield duties, with Joshua Kimmich also shifting to the double-pivot. It could, in turn, force Corentin Tolisso to return to the bench.
Hansi Flick, unfortunately, is missing out on new signing Leroy Sane due to a knee injury. The ex-Manchester City starlet is not expected to be back until the end of the international break.
It should pave the way for Kingsley Coman to continue featuring as a left-winger, with Serge Gnabry operating on the opposite flank. Thomas Muller should feature as the Ramdeuter, providing support to Robert Lewandowski in the number nine.
Flick does have interesting alternatives in academy stars like Joshua Zirkzee, Jamal Musiala as well as midfielder Adrien Fein while Michael Cuisance has been told to find a new club following his failed move to Leeds United.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
It will be interesting to see if Hertha Berlin head coach Bruno Labbadia employs the same method Hoffenheim did against Bayern last weekend by operating a deep defensive line, with an added focus on long balls.
The club from the capital does have a powerful attacking unit in Dodi Lukebakio and Jhon Cordoba, both of who will be supported by the excellent Matheus Cunha. The Brazilian has added some flair in the attack after joining from RB Leipzig and could be vital for the away side here.
Not to mention, Labbadia also has the option of Krzysztof Piatek, though the Pole is yet to score a single goal in the Bundesliga so far this season. So he might have to settle for a place on the bench.
Hertha Berlin have a strong midfield unit with Lucas Tousart, Vladimir Darida and Niklas Stark providing some much-needed solidity and work-rate in the middle of the park. Their presence could be vital in dealing with Bayern Munich midfielders like Kimmich and Goretzka this weekend.
And finally, in defence, Labbadia should persist with the same back-four, consisting of Peter Pekarik, Dedryck Boyata, Jordan Torunarigha and Max Mittelstadt. These four will look to provide cover for goalkeeper Alexander Schowlow.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Schowlow; Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Mittelstadt; Tousart, Stark, Darida; Cunha; Lukebakio, Cordoba
- Lewandowski is one goal away from 100 in the Bundesliga at the Allianz Arena (all for Bayern in 97 home games for the club). He got 19 in 15 matches last season, including a brace in the opening game against Hertha.
- Manuel Neuer has kept 15 clean sheets in 21 Bundesliga games against Hertha, which is a league record he shares with Oliver Reck (15 in 25 games against Gladbach).
- Bayern have conceded in just one of their last six home games against the Berliners and haven’t lost any of their last 25 against the capital club in the league in Munich, going back to October 1977.
- Since signing in January, new Brazil call-up Cunha has been Hertha’s top scorer with seven goals (and three assists) in 14 appearances.
- The Old Lady have claimed points in five of their last seven Bundesliga games against Bayern (W1, D4), which is the best return of any team in that period.
Player to Watch
As mentioned earlier, there is a possibility that Labbadia could replicate the Hoffenheim method by using long balls from the back and relying on the physical prowess of their attackers to beat the Bayern Munich defenders. And that is where Lukebakio could emerge as the most important player in this fixture.
The ex-Fortuna Dusseldorf striker has a stellar record against Bayern Munich, scoring five Bundesliga goals against the Bavarians. Only Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus has more against them among current players in the German top-flight.
From a tactical perspective, Lukebakio’s pace and aerial ability could make life difficult for the left-sided centre-back as well as the left-back. He could play also a key role in providing the opportunities to his fellow striker in Cordoba, who is known for his lethal goalscoring prowess.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Hertha Berlin
Bundesliga teams are slowly starting to figure out Hansi Flick’s commendable but risky high press. However, Labbadia has never really had a strong record against the Bavarians, who are expected to field their strongest possible lineup this weekend. We expect a narrow 2-1 win for the Bundesliga champions.