Bayern Munich will hope to regain their place atop the Bundesliga table when they lock horns with VfL Wolfsburg on Wednesday.
The Englische Woche in the Bundesliga gets underway for the first time this week, as German clubs look to make up for the delayed start to the campaign by tussling with each other in midweek. One of the biggest matches heading into this matchday is Bayern Munich’s clash with VfL Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
The Bavarians are fresh from a 1-1 draw with Union Berlin – a game which they could have easily lost. Nonetheless, it did see them lose their place at the top of the table, with Bayer Leverkusen overtaking them after a sublime 4-1 with over TSG Hoffenheim on Sunday. Die Werkself are one of two teams unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season.
The other team, of course, is VfL Wolfsburg, who pipped Borussia Dortmund to get into the top four, thanks to a late comeback that saw them secure a narrow win over Eintracht Frankfurt. The Wolves are now won three of their last four league matches, which is far better than Bayern, who have secured only one win during the same period.
Hansi Flick will be well aware of the fact that the pressure could escalate should they fail to secure a win at home to Wolfsburg this week, especially with RB Leipzig, Leverkusen and Dortmund keen on taking advantage. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this topspiel in the Bundesliga this midweek.
Tactics & Team News
Hansi Flick has been boosted by the return of a few of his key players recently including Alphonso Davies and Corentin Tolisso, although Joshua Kimmich still remains out, along with Tanguy Nianzou.
Davies, however, has started in Bayern’s last two games and could be in for a breather this midweek. So we expect Lucas Hernandez to start at left-back, with Benjamin Pavard starting on the opposite flank ahead of Bouna Sarr. There shouldn’t be any changes elsewhere in defence either as Jerome Boateng and David Alaba continue at the heart of the Bayern defence, providing cover for Manuel Neuer in goal.
In midfield, Leon Goretzka is a slight doubt heading into this game. It could make things difficult for Flick, especially with Javi Martinez also lacking full fitness. So we expect Corentin Tolisso to start alongside the Jamal Musiala, although it won’t be surprising to see Marc Roca getting the nod due to his defensive qualities that could provide better balance.
Moving forward, Flick is likely to opt for the strongest possible eleven against a Wolfsburg defence that has conceded just 11 goals in the league so far. Hence, it won’t be surprising to see Leroy Sane settling for the bench once again, with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman getting the nod out wide.
They will look to provide the offensive supply to Robert Lewandowski, who could be joined by Thomas Muller due to Musiala playing higher up the pitch. The German could, in fact, emerge as the most important player for Bayern knowing Wolfsburg will definitely keep close tabs on Lewandowski.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez; Tolisso; Gnabry, Muller, Musiala, Coman; Lewandowski
Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner has maintained quite a stable formation this season, but he does have a lot of variety in the squad, especially in the attacking department.
Ridle Baku, in particular, has emerged as one of the signings of the season, due to his pace, versatility and offensive prowess. He should once again start at right wing, ahead of Admir Mehmedi even though the latter has a lot of experience at the highest level of football. Josip Brekalo, on the other hand, should continue on the opposite flank.
Maximilian Philipp has been a revelation for Wolfsburg in the number ten slot. So he should continue to support Wout Weghorst in the Wolves attack, although Glasner does have the option of deploying the physically robust figure of Daniel Ginczek or Felix Klaus, who is an excellent chance creator.
There should not be any changes in midfield, with Maximilian Arnold and Xaver Schlager operating in the double pivot. Both of these players are excellent when it comes to creating chances so they could spell trouble for Bayern Munich.
Defensively, Kevin Mbabu was one of the best players in the latest matchday, giving Glasner very little reason to change things. He will provide support for the in-form defenders like Jerome Roussillon, John Anthony Brooks and Maxence Lacroix, who is becoming one of the rising stars in the Bundesliga.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Casteels; Mbabu, Brooks, Lacroix, Roussillon; Arnold, Schlager; Baku, Philipp, Brekalo; Weghorst
- Thomas Muller made his 555th appearance in a Bayern Munich shirt at the weekend – only Sepp Maier, Oliver Kahn, Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer have more.
- Robert Lewandowski has 175 goals in 200 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich – 21 more than Gerd Muller scored in his first 200 league outings. He is on 249 career Bundesliga goals.
- Bayern Munich have scored a club record 35 goals after 11 matches so far in the 2020/21 season.
- Thomas Muller is the only outfield player at Bayern Munich to have started every league game so far this season.
- VfL Wolfsburg have come from behind to earn points in six games this season (W2 D4) – a league-high.
Player to Watch
Weghorst cont.: "Now I have learned a little
bit to also let it go + to just try to enjoy the soccer
+ have fun at the level where I am now. I know that I
give my best and I also trust my talent and it’s there.
It’s amazing how it’s going and it’s the most wonderful
thing to do." pic.twitter.com/wEmFtyruER
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) December 12, 2020
The tussle between two lethal forwards in Robert Lewandowski and Wout Weghorst is one of the things worth looking forward to in this fixture. However, the Bayern Munich striker has had a difficult time scoring in recent weeks, giving Weghorst the upper hand in this highly-anticipated fixture.
The tall striker is Wolfsburg’s leading scorer this term with nine goals, finding the net in each of his last five games. The last VfL player to manage such a hot streak was Edin Dzeko in May 2009. Weghorst, no doubt, will be looking forward to adding to his tally this midweek.
The Dutchman’s imposing physical frame, aerial prowess and an ability to sense scoring opportunities could spell trouble for the Bayern Munich backline that has appeared quite vulnerable in recent weeks – making him a smart bet heading into this game.
Bayern Munich 1-1 VfL Wolfsburg
There is no doubt that Wolfsburg’s unbeaten record faces great danger this midweek when they face one of the mightiest teams in Europe. Fortunately for Oliver Glasner, the Bavarians’ poor form heading into this game and a rather predictable approach should give his side the opportunity to frustrate their opposition with their defensive solidity.
Despite all the hype surrounding this fixture, it could turn out to be a cagey affair and a draw could hardly be a surprise. Therefore, The Hard Tackle predicts Bayern Munich to be held to a 1-1 draw by Wolfsburg on Wednesday.