Bayern Munich are set to resume their Bundesliga campaign on Friday as they take on fellow Bavarian outfit FC Augsburg.

After the final international break of the year, Bundesliga is set to resume this weekend with Matchday 12 of the 2021/22 season. Record champions Bayern Munich are set to kick things off when they lock horns with FC Augsburg in the Bavarian derby.

Bayern are heading into this game as the table toppers, having collected 28 points from 11 matches. They had extended their lead at the top to four points in the last matchday when Borussia Dortmund fell to a defeat at the hands of RB Leipzig. But it could be imperative for the German giants to maintain their winning streak if they are to avoid being pressurised by the chasing pack.

While the majority of the other contenders, including Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Leipzig, are still far behind, Bayern simply cannot be complacent, especially as they brace themselves for a tough run of fixtures.

Their opponent Augsburg, meanwhile, are experiencing a contrasting situation. Die Fuggerstadter have endured a dismal start to the campaign, collecting just nine points in 11 matches. They are currently third-bottom in the league and are running the risk of moving down further, should Arminia Bielefeld secure a point against Wolfsburg on Saturday.

With just three wins and 25 defeats in 30 competitive meetings, Augsburg have not had the best of records against their Bavarians rivals. But under Markus Weinzierl, they will be hoping to at least secure a point and remain on top of the other relegation contenders. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at both these teams ahead of their crucial Bundesliga encounter at the WWK Arena this Friday.

Team News & Tactics

FC Augsburg

STUTTGART, GERMANY - MARCH 03: Head coach Markus Weinzierl of VfB Stuttgart looks on prior to the Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 at Mercedes-Benz Arena on March 3, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Can Markus Weinzierl organise his team against the mighty Bayern? (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Markus Weinzierl is missing a few players heading into this game, including key defender Felix Udoukhai while full-back Iago remains a doubt. Star striker Florian Niederlechner is likely to miss out as well, which could be a major blow for Augsburg, given that he has scored three of the team’s nine goals this term.

In the absence of Niederlechner, the onus of finding the target will be on Alfred Finnbogason. The Iceland forward had returned to full fitness last month, even starring in the win over Stuttgart. His form could be crucial as Augsburg look to catch Bayern on the break, with Andi Zeqiri set to provide additional assistance.

With Augsburg likely to persist with a 4-4-2 setup, the second line of press should see Niklas Dorsch operating alongside Arne Maier in midfield, with the former replacing the injured Tobias Strobl. As for the wide midfield slots, the experienced Daniel Caligiuri and Ruben Vargas are always an ideal combo, as one provides creativity from set-pieces while the other can traumatise defenders with his raw pace.

Defensively, Weinzierl should not make any changes as he continues with a low line led by Jeffrey Gouweleeuw. Reece Oxford should offer additional support to the Dutchman at the heart of the Augsburg defence while Robert Gumny and Mads Pedersen are likely to occupy the full-back slots as they look to protect Rafal Gikiewicz in goal.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Gikiewicz; Gumny, Gouweleeuw, Oxford, Pedersen; Caligiuri, Dorsch, Maier, Vargas; Zeqiri, Finnbogason

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Bayern Munich

It has been a healthy international break for Bayern Munich as the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, and Jamal Musiala did not participate and have all returned from their quarantine, with Niklas Sule the only one missing out. None of their foreign players have picked up any injuries either, giving Julian Nagelsmann the privilege to deploy a full-strength squad.

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 19: Robert Lewandowski #9 of FC Bayern Muenchen reacts during the DFB Cup final between Bayern Muenchen and Eintracht Frankfurt at Olympiastadion on May 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski is ready for another show. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The former Hoffenheim coach had opted for a 3-4-2-1 against SC Freiburg last time out. But we expect him to switch to a more generic 4-2-3-1 against Augsburg, unleashing the additional forward in the final third.

While Robert Lewandowski will certainly spearhead the Bayern attack, both Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller will be aided by the additional presence of Serge Gnabry, thus forming Bayern’s creative trifecta.

There should be no changes in midfield, with Leon Goretzka continuing his partnership with Joshua Kimmich in the double pivot. However, the two midfielders might perform rustily, with one recently coming back from a quarantine while the other had to sustain a nasty knock during the international break.

Defensively, Nagelsmann has multiple options at his disposal, but he will likely persist with Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez at centre-back, while Benjamin Pavard may return to the team, starting at right-back. The Frenchman will be hoping to add some solidity to the Bayern backline, while Alphonso Davies, on the opposite flank, will be tasked with the responsibility of offering the offensive thrust.

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

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Key Stats

  • Florian Niederlechner is averaging a goal every 134 minutes this season. All three of his strikes have come on home soil.
  • Augsburg have conceded a league-high eight goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches, doing so in their last three in a row.
  • Robert Lewandowski has scored more goals this Bundesliga season (13) than the entire Augsburg team combined (nine). He’s hit 17 in 21 appearances against Die Fuggerstadter.
  • Bayern Munich need to score just once more to break their own 100-goal record for most Bundesliga strikes in a calendar year.
  • Julian Nagelsmann’s table-toppers have netted at least three goals in their last four away games. Five would equal another Bundesliga best-mark set by the record champions in winter 2019/20.

Player to Watch

Leroy Sane

Embed from Getty Images

Leroy Sane is by far one of the most in-form players in Europe at the moment, having exploded brilliantly under the leadership of Julian Nagelsmann. The former Schalke prodigy has already been involved in 18 goals in 18 competitive matches so far, including eight-goal involvements in the Champions League.

He will be hoping to pick up from where he had left off when Bayern Munich play Augsburg on Friday. The winger’s pace and trickery on the flanks are set to make life difficult for the opposition defenders, and it won’t be surprising to see him interchange position with Thomas Muller, making it difficult for Markus Weinzierl’s men to mark them tightly.

Prediction

Bayern Munich 4-0 FC Augsburg

FC Augsburg have been one of the least performing teams in the Bundesliga this season. They have struggled to make an impression in offence or in defence, which does not bode well for the Bavarians as they take on Bayern Munich on Friday.

Indeed, we are expecting Julian Nagelsmann’s men to impose their dominance once again and maintain their free-scoring form, with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller once again likely to find themselves among the goals.

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