Bayern Munich shift their attention towards the DFB Pokal as they face Holstein Kiel in the second round on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich’s defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday handed them a huge blow in the Bundesliga title race. Although they were lucky to get away with Bayer Leverkusen’s draw and RB Leipzig’s defeat, Borussia Dortmund are now back in the frame, trailing Hansi Flick’s men by just four points.

On Wednesday, however, the Bavarians will have the opportunity to move on from their loss and get back to winning ways as they lock horns with Holstein Kiel in the second round of the DFB Pokal. They had a reasonably comfortable time beating FC Duren in the first round, with Flick hoping for a similar performance this time out.

That said, things are bound to get much trickier against a Holstein Kiel side, who are one of the top contenders to seal promotion in the Bundesliga next season. The northern German outfit has done remarkably well in the second division, currently sitting third in the league table – just one point behind league leaders Hamburger SV.

Kiel are also coming on the back of a mammoth 7-1 win over Rielasingen in the first round of the cup competition, so they will be feeling confident of their chances of causing an upset, however difficult it may get. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial DFB Pokal clash on Wednesday.

Team News & Tactics

Holstein Kiel

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Holstein Kiel have the meanest defence in 2.Bundesliga with only 14 goals conceded so far. Ole Werner will, therefore, undoubtedly employ a defensive approach in dealing with FC Bayern, before pushing for a late winner if they do manage to keep the Bavarians at bay for the majority of the game.

As such, the central defensive duo of Hauke Wahl and Stefan Thesker will be key in providing cover for goalkeeper Iannis Gelios. They are set to be further aided by the two full-backs in Jannik Dehm and Johannes van den Bergh.

The holding midfielder Jonas Meffert should play a crucial role in Holstein Kiel’s resistance. The same cannot be said for the two attacking midfielders in Jae-sung-Lee and Alexander Muhling, who is the club’s surprising top scorer this season with a total of six goals so far, with the duo given the licence to push forward.

Former Werder Bremen and Schalke duo in Fin Bartels and Fabian Reese will hope to provide supply from the wide areas for Janni Serra, who is himself a former youth prodigy from the Borussia Dortmund academy.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Gelios; Dehm, Wahl, Thesker, Van den Bergh; Meffert; Reese, Mühling, Lee, Bartels; Serra 

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Bayern Munich

The Wednesday fixture against Holstein Kiel should give the opportunity for Hansi Flick to make some changes to his setup, even though it is a must-win game for the visitors.

Benjamin Pavard could be replaced at right-back once again after a series of bad performances. Bouna Sarr is the favourite to replace him while Alexander Nubel may feature in between the sticks ahead of Manuel Neuer. Another change in defence should see Lucas Hernandez coming in at left-back, with Alphonso Davies getting the breather.

The man with the golden touch. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The man with the golden touch. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Chris Richards is another option, although it remains unlikely that he will get the nod ahead of Jerome Boateng in central defence.

In the midfield department, Corentin Tolisso is almost destined to be recalled to the starting lineup. The Frenchman could be deployed alongside Jamal Musiala, although the latter may operate further upfront alongside Thomas Muller as the two attacking midfielders.

And finally, in the attack, Leroy Sane could be rested after starting the last two matches. Even Robert Lewandowski may have to settle for a place on the bench. But unfortunately, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting remains a major doubt heading into this clash so Flick may have to settle for Joshua Zirkzee upfront.

As for the wingers, Kingsley Coman should pretty much start while Douglas Costa may once again get the nod, mostly due to Serge Gnabry lacking full fitness.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Nubel; Sarr, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez; Muller, Tolisso, Musiala; Costa, Zirkzee, Coman

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Key Stats

  • Bayern Munich have won the DFB Cup a record 20 times. Kiel have reached the quarter-finals twice – in 1943 and then 2012.
  • Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller are the competition’s highest scorers among still active players, with 39 and 32 goals respectively.
  • Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer and David Alaba are bidding to win the DFB Cup for a record-equalling seventh time. Bastian Schweinsteiger currently holds the outright record.
  • Holders Bayern have reached at least the semi-finals in their last 11 seasons in a row. They haven’t been eliminated by lower-league opposition since 2003/04, when then Bundesliga 2 outfit Alemannia Aachen shaded their quarter-final tie 2-1.
  • Kiel were German champions in 1911/12, but have never played in the Bundesliga or faced the Bayern pros in any competition.

Player to Watch

Jamal Musiala

With most of the Bayern Munich attackers either struggling with form or injuries, this could be another exciting opportunity for Jamal Musiala to further announce himself as a reliable first-team option for Hansi Flick. The youngster has already emerged as one of the rising stars in the Bundesliga this campaign with three goals.

On Wednesday, Musiala could thrive against second division Holstein Kiel. His smart movements, excellent close control and link-up play with teammates could cause major problems for Werner’s men. In addition, the Englishman will also be hoping to extend his already impressing tally of three goals in all competitions.

Prediction

Holstein Kiel 1-3 Bayern Munich

Although there is no question of Bayern Munich falling prey to yet another upset this midweek, it won’t be surprising to see Holstein Kiel giving them a run for their money. The 2.Bundesliga club packs quite a punch and might make things extremely difficult for the Bavarians, who may find themselves relying on late goals to secure a victory.

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