Bayern Munich will be aiming to take another step towards retaining their Bundesliga crown when they host VfB Stuttgart at the Allianz Arena this weekend.

Reigning Bundesliga champions and current leaders Bayern Munich will be hoping to strengthen their hold at the top of the table when they lock horns with VfB Stuttgart on their home turn on Saturday afternoon.

Following a shock 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last month, Bayern Munich have been near unstoppable, winning their subsequent five games in a row across all competitions. Most recently, Die Roten beat Lazio 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League to advance to the quarter-finals and will be aiming to carry that momentum forward on Saturday, with RB Leipzig breathing down their necks.

VfB Stuttgart, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last five league games (W3 D2), winning their latest encounter 2-0 against TSG Hoffenheim. This has seen Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side rise up to the eighth spot in the standings in their first season back in the Bundesliga. And Die Schwaben will be aiming to continue on their run and make further progress on the table this weekend.

The reverse fixture, played in November last year saw Bayern Munich come back from behind to win 3-1 as Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski and Douglas Costa scored after Tanguy Coulibaly had put VfB Stuttgart in front. Ahead of teir latest encounter, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich will be boosted by the return of captain Manuel Neuer, who missed the UEFA Champions League game against Lazio due to an illness. Kingsley Coman is also expected to be back missing the last game. Corentin Tolisso, Douglas Costa and Tanguy Nianzou remain unavailable, however.

The returning Neuer should walk right back into the starting XI at the expense of Alexander Nubel in the Bayern Munich goal. Benjamin Pavard could be preferred at right-back once again after successive impressive displays while Jerome Boateng and David Alaba continue in central defence, meaning Niklas Sule misses out again.

Alphonso Davies should return to the lineup at left-back after only featuring as a substitute against Lazio in midweek. Lucas Hernandez will make way. The Canadian will be in for a tough battle against the equally pacy Silas Wamangituka.

Joshua Kimmich is said to be suffering from a slight cold but should recover in time to start in the midfield. After delivering a Man of the Match display in midweek, he will be hoping to continue from where he left off. Leon Goretzka will provide the energy in the engine room alongside him.

The front four picks itself as Thomas Muller starts in the No. 10 role flanked by the dangerous duo of Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry with Robert Lewandowski leading the line for the home team.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Muller, Gnabry; Lewandowski

VfB Stuttgart

Hamadi Al Ghaddioui, Clinton Mola, Orel Mangala and Lilian Egloff are all absentees for VfB Stuttgart when they take on the champions this weekend. Pellegrino Matarazzo should set his team up in his usual 3-4-2-1 formation with the speed of the attackers and the chance-creating abilities of the wing-backs being key for the visitors.

Gregor Kobel will man the goal for Die Schwaben with the three-man defence of Konstantinos Mavropanos, Waldemar Anton and Marc Oliver Kempf shielding him against the collective threat of the mighty Bayern Munich attack.

Liverpool interested in Sasa Kalajdzic: Is he going to be the Andy Carroll they never had? | THT Opinions

Further protection will come from the middle of the park through Wataru Endo, who will look to break up Bayern’s gameplay. With Mangala set to miss out, Gonzalo Castro should drop into a deeper role alongside the Japanese midfielder on Saturday.

Silas Wamangituka and Borna Sosa ought to be the two wing-backs for the visiting team, who will look to break at pace and hit crosses in for the team’s target man, Sasa Kalajdzic. Supporting the striker from the attacking midfield roles should be Philipp Forster and Tanguy Coulibaly, who will look to exploit the high Bayern Munich defence.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Kobel; Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf; Wamangituka, Endo, Castro, Sosa; Forster, Coulibaly; Kalajdzic

Key Stats

  • Bayern Munich have won 16 of their last 17 Bundesliga matches against VfB Stuttgart. The exception came in the form of a 4-1 defeat on the final day of the 2017/18 season when the title was already sewn up.
  • VfB Stuttgart have won six of their 13 away matches in this season’s Bundesliga. Only Bayern Munich have recorded more victories on the road (nine).
  • Hansi Flick is set to take charge of his 50th match as a Bundesliga manager (W39, D5, L5). Of all Bundesliga coaches past or present, only Pep Guardiola has a superior win ratio (80.4 percent) than the current Bayern boss (79.6 percent).
  • Sasa Kalajdzic, who has been linked with Liverpool, has scored seven goals since the turn of the year. Only Lewandowski has scored more (10) during the period.
  • Bayern Munich have lost just one of their last 27 home league games against newly-promoted sides (W24 D2). The defeat, notably, came against VfB Stuttgart in 2017/18.

Player to Watch

Robert Lewandowski

It has been a season in which the 32-year-old Lewandowski has continued to topple records one after the other. Last weekend saw the Poland international find the back of the net against Werder Bremen in Bundesliga, in the process becoming the joint second-highest goalscorer of all-time in Bundesliga, levelling up with Klaus Fischer at  268 strikes.

A goal on Saturday against VfB would see him become the outright second highest goal-getter in the competition, with the legendary Gerd Muller the only one in front of him. Speaking of Muller, Lewandowski continues to close down on Der Bomber’s record of 40 goals in a single league campaign.

With 32 to his name, the Bayern Munich striker will be pushing to beat that long-standing record as well. It bodes well for him and Die Roten that he has netted a goal in each of his last 15 league games.

Prediction

Bayern Munich 3-1 VfB Stuttgart

VfB Stuttgart have been in good form coming into the game and are known for their chance-creation. At the same time, Bayern Munich’s attacking firepower needs no introduction. So, we can expect goals from this encounter. With the pace that the visitors possess at the top, coupled with Sasa Kalajdzic’s recent form, they should pose problems to the Bayern defence.

However, as we have seen on so many occasions this term, most recently against Borussia Dortmund, this Bayern side is capable of outscoring any team. And that should be the case again on Saturday, with the champions picking up a crucial win in a high-scoring encounter.

Leave A Comment...

*