Bayern Munich are under pressure to deliver as they take on in-form SC Freiburg at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.
Bayern Munich are going through yet another rough patch and this one might just be one of the worst ones they’ve had in years. Indeed, the Bavarians have lost their last two matches, one of which came against second division outfit Holstein Kiel in the penalty shootout. The loss led to their shock early exit from the DFB Pokal.
In the Bundesliga, Hansi Flick’s men are also coming on the back of a disappointing 3-2 defeat at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach. Needless to say, they are once again running the risk of being knocked off the perch at the top, with RB Leipzig just two points behind while fellow Bundesliga Borussia Dortmund giants are catching up as well.
And to add to Bayern’s misfortunes, the defending champions face one of the most in-form teams in the Bundesliga this weekend when they play hosts to SC Freiburg. The Breisgau outfit are, in fact, the most in-form team in the German top division, having secured five back to back victories in the league.
Such consistency has helped them transform into potential challengers for European places despite flirting with relegation candidates a few weeks ago. And given his side’s form, coach Christian Streich has no reason to play passive and settle for a draw as the German mastermind aims for his side’s sixth successive league win that could catapult them into the top six.
Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial Bundesliga encounter at the Allianz Arena this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Hansi Flick did rest some of his key players in the midweek game against Holstein Kiel including Robert Lewandowski and David Alaba while Benjamin Pavard was also benched.
Alaba is pretty much guaranteed to make his return to central defence, where he might partner Jerome Boateng, another player who was left out of the eleven against Kiel. As for the other defenders, there is an element of uncertainty regarding the involvement of Pavard given his poor form.
Flick could always use Niklas Sule, but the German international had to play 120 minutes in midweek. So we give the Frenchman the benefit of the doubt while Lucas Hernandez should replace Alphonso Davies on the opposite flank.
In midfield, Bayern Munich should recall Leon Goretzka into the double-pivot alongside Joshua Kimmich. The pair could play a key role up against high flying SC Freiburg this weekend as the Bavarians look to dominate the game in the middle of the park.
And finally, in the attack, Flick is almost guaranteed to recall three of his best forwards in Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski into the setup. All three were either on the bench or feature only as a substitute against Kiel and Bayern need them to perform at their very best if they are to get the better of Freiburg this weekend.
It is, however, fair to point out that Coman is a slight doubt heading into this fixture. Leroy Sane is the desired alternative should the Frenchman fail to recover in time while Thomas Muller should complete the Bayern Munich attack by featuring in his trademark Ramdeuter role.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
It will be interesting to see what kind of changes Streich adopts in this game, though it’s very likely that he may persist with a 4-2-3-1 in order to mirror Bayern’s formation.
It essentially means Kevin Schlotterbeck should feature in central midfield, rather than at central defence, where the onus will be on the Philipp Lienhart and Manuel Gulde to keep the Bayern attack at bay. However, it won’t be surprising to see Schlotterbeck occasionally dropping in deep to aid the centre-backs.
Mostly, though, the 23-year-old should feature alongside Nicolas Hofler. The duo will look to form Freiburg’s second line of press, with additional assistance from Baptiste Santamaria while the two fullbacks in Lukas Kubler and Christian Gunter should drop deep or move forward whenever it is necessary.
Moving forward, Edin Demirovic should easily get the nod ahead of Lucas Holer in the number nine role. The in-form forward will look to spearhead the Freiburg attack alongside Vincenzo Grifo and Roland Sallai this weekend. Streich does, however, have the option of the highly experienced Nils Petersen as well as on-loan Bayern winger Jeong Woo-yeong.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Muller; Kubler, Lienhart, Gulde, Gunter; Hofler, Schlotterbeck; Sallai, Santamaria, Grifo; Demirovic
- After suffering defeat at Gladbach last season on Matchday 14, Bayern Munich went unbeaten for the remainder of 2019/20 to clinch their ninth straight title.
- Bayern Munich’s 46 goals scored after 15 matches is the fourth-best return at this stage of a season in Bundesliga history. It’s the best return for almost 40 years since Koln hit 46 in 1977/78.
- SC Freiburg travel to Munich in the middle of a club-record winning run of five matches. The Black Forest have also scored 28 goals after 15 games of a season for just the second time in their Bundesliga history, the first since hitting 30 in 1994/95.
- Freiburg have only avoided defeat in three of their 20 visits to Munich in the German top-flight, and have never beaten Bayern away from home.
- Only the legendary Gerd Müller in 1968/69 has scored as many as Robert Lewandowski’s 20 goals after the first 15 matches of a Bundesliga campaign.
Player to Watch
Players with 🔟➕ goal involvements this season ⚽+🅰️
2️⃣5️⃣ Robert Lewandowski
1️⃣4️⃣ Erling Haaland
1️⃣4️⃣ Thomas Müller
1️⃣3️⃣ Andre Silva
1️⃣1️⃣ Wout Weghorst
1️⃣1️⃣ Lars Stindl
1️⃣1️⃣ Silas Wamangituka
1️⃣1️⃣ Vincenzo Grifo
1️⃣1️⃣ Max Kruse
1️⃣0️⃣ Andrej Kramaric
1️⃣0️⃣ Jonas Hofmann pic.twitter.com/ToZjJJJFgG
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) January 12, 2021
One of the main reasons behind SC Freiburg’s recent success in the Bundesliga is the existence of a phenomenal attacking group that is led by Vincenzo Grifo. The Italian has indeed been a revelation since returning to Breisgau last season, notably being involved in 11 goals in just 15 matches in the ongoing campaign.
Grifo’s presence on the left side of the attack has offered Freiburg the additional creativity in the final third – something the likes of Demirovic and Sallai have thrived upon. In addition, the former Borussia Monchengladbach man has also managed to provide the productivity going forward, having scored five times in his last seven outings.
That said, Grifo does possess a rather poor record against Bayern Munich. And he will be looking to change that this weekend, with the help of his in-form teammates.
Bayern Munich 1-1 SC Freiburg
It is going to be a tough ask for SC Freiburg to beat Bayern Munich at home, regardless of their momentum heading into this game. However, the visitors are more than capable of taking full advantage of the Bavarians’ high press while remaining solid at the back. Hence, it won’t be surprising to see Flick’s men dropping two more points this weekend.