Bayern Munich will be hoping to take a step closer to winning the Bundesliga title when they take on Union Berlin this weekend.

Matchweek 28 of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season kicks off this week and champions Bayern Munich will be in action on Saturday afternoon as they prepare to host Union Berlin at the Allianz Arena.

Following their crucial 1-0 win over second-placed RB Leipzig last weekend, another league title seems just a formality for Bayern, who have now opened up a seven-point lead at the top. However, they will be itching to bounce back to winning ways after their 3-2 midweek defeat in the UEFA Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain.

Union Berlin, meanwhile, are currently in the seventh spot, just four below a faltering Borussia Dortmund side in fifth. However, Urs Fischer’s side have won just one of their last six games and have failed to pick up three points in their last three outings, most recently being held to a 1-1 draw by rivals Hertha Berlin in the derby.

The reverse fixture, played out in December last year, saw Bayern Munich come back from behind to salvage a point against Union Berlin with Robert Lewandowski cancelling out Grischa Promel’s early goal. Ahead of their latest meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Bayern Munich

Heading into the game, Bayern Munich have a long list of injury-related absentees with Robert Lewandowski set to be the biggest miss once again. Apart from the Pole, Leon Goretzka and Niklas Sule also miss out after hobbling off in the defeat to PSG. They join Douglas Costa, Lucas Hernandez, Marc Roca and Corentin Tolisso on the treatment tables.

Serge Gnabry misses out after testing positive for coronavirus while Alphonso Davies is suspended. Flick, ideally, would have liked to rotate his troops ahead of the crunch game against PSG in the Champions League next week. But given the number of players unavailable, that becomes impossible. However, we could see some non-regulars get some game-time when the capital club come into Bavaria this weeekend.

Captain Manuel Neuer will man the goal for the hosts while summer signing Bouna Sarr could be in for a rare start at right-back giving Benjamin Pavard a breather. David Alaba could slot in at left-back, with Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez forming the centre-back partnership that will look to deal with the threat of Petar Musa and Max Kruse at the top.

Moving into central midfield, Flick has very few options at his disposal. As a result, we may see youngster Jamal Musiala getting deployed in a deeper role alongside Joshua Kimmich, who will look to shield the defence and simultaneously initiate attacks with his razor-sharp passes. The youngster, on the other hand, will look to provide attacking support to Thomas Muller in the No. 10 role.

With Gnabry and Lewandowski unavailable, the frontline pretty much picks itself as Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman slot in on the wide areas while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting slots in as the centre-forward again for Die Roten.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Sarr, Boateng, Martinez, Alaba; Kimmich, Musiala; Sane, Muller, Coman; Choupo-Moting

Union Berlin

Much like his counterpart in the Bayern dugout, Union Berlin boss Urs Fischer also has some injury headaches ahead of the trip to Bavaria. Taiwo Awoniyi, Anthony Ujah, Sheraldo Becker and Leon Dajaku are all ruled out with injuries. There is some good news though, as Niko Gießelmann is back in training and in contention to feature at the Allianz Arena.

Having fielded his team in a 3-4-1-2 formation against Hertha last time out, Fischer could continue with the same shape against Bayern in front of goalkeeper Andreas Luthe, with the motive being to hit the champions on the break and make the most of their high backline.

Marvin Friedrich, Robin Knoche and Nico Schlotterbeck ought to be the three centre-halves for Union Berlin with captain Christopher Trimmel and Julian Ryerson lining up as the wing-backs on the right and left sides respectively. They will be primary source of width when the visitors look to push forward.

Robert Andrich and Grischa Promel, who scored in the reverse fixture, will anchor the midfield for Union Berlin while Christian Gentner slots in a slightly more advanced position, although Marcus Ingvartsen is also an option for Fischer. Max Kruse, who is the top scorer with 10 goals, should lead the attack alongside Petar Musa.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Luthe; Friedrich, Knoche, Scholtterbeck; Trimmel, Promel, Andrich, Ryerson; Gentner; Musa, Kruse

Key Stats

  • Bayern Munich have won each of their past five Bundesliga matches, scoring 17 times in the process at an average of 3.4 goals a game.
  • Union berlin picked up their first league point against Bayern Munich the last time the two met on Matchday 11. They are one of only two teams, alongside Gladbach, to have not been beaten by the league leaders this season.
  • Bayern Munich are still unbeaten in all competitions at the Allianz Arena this season (P18, W15, D3).
  • Union Berlin’s top-scorer this term, Max Kruse, has scored four of his 10 league goals across the last five matchdays.
  • Bayern have scored at least once in each of their last 62 competitive games – a new club record. They last time they failed to score was in the goalless draw with Leipzig on 9 February 2020.

Player to Watch

Leroy Sane

Embed from Getty Images

Eight goals and eleven assists from 36 games for the season is quite an impressive tally. However, that does not change the fact that Leroy Sane has not had it easy in his debut season at Bayern Munich. Having made the switch from Manchester City, the former Schalke man has not been consistent enough on his return to Germany, as could be seen from his performance against PSG.

With Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry unavailable and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting not possessing the necessary quality, it becomes important for the likes of Sane to step up and ease some burden off the shoulders of Thomas Muller in the attacking third. A strong showing here could be the perfect preparation for Sane ahead of the trip to Paris next week.


Bayern Munich 2-1 Union Berlin

Union Berlin will back their chances of coming away with at least a point from Bavaria this weekend, having already held Bayern Munich to a draw earlier in the season. Throw in the champions’ long injury list and the PSG game looming large, there could be some distraction on the minds, which the visitors could look to exploit.

However, despite the problems, the record-champions have enough quality in the likes of Thomas Muller Joshua Kimmich, Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane to make a telling impact, which is why we are predicting another win for Bayern Munich.

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