Bayern Munich are looking to move a step closer towards securing the Bundesliga title as they take on TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Bayern Munich are undisputedly the best team in the world when it comes to responding to a bad result. After being held to a 1-1 draw by Bayer Leverkusen last weekend, the Bavarians demolished Red Bull Salzburg 7-1 at the Allianz Arena in midweek in the UEFA Champions League.

The massive win could serve as a major confidence booster as Bayern Munich play TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday. Although the German Rekordmeister have a comfortable nine-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table, it is a must-win encounter, given Borussia Dortmund have a game in hand.

A defeat could allow the Black and Yellows to potentially close the gap at the top to just three points, with Bayern yet to face BVB in the reverse fixture. Hence, Julian Nagelsmann will demand nothing less than a victory against his former side this weekend in his bid to secure the league title for the first time in his coaching career.

Hoffenheim, though, are one of the trickiest teams in the league and often cause real danger on the counter. With 43 points on the board, Die Kraichgauer are coming on the back of four consecutive wins, making them one of the most in-form teams in the league.

Hoffenheim did lose 4-0 to Bayern in the reverse fixture, but they will be hoping for better luck at home this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim are set to miss a host of key players heading into this contest. Especially in the defensive unit, Chris Richards (lack of training), Ermin Bicakcic (rehab after ACL), and Benno Hubner (COVID-19) are likely to miss out, alongside holding midfielders Sebastian Rudy and Havard Nordtveit.

While Stefan Posch, Florian Grillitsch and Kevin Vogt are likely to form the depleted defence, Hoffenheim coach Sebastian Hoeness does have his key players available in midfield and attack.

Diadie Samassekou and Dennis Geiger, in particular, should play a vital role in the second line of press, although Hoeness can also start with Grillitsch in the No. 6 role, if necessary.

As for the wing-backs, both Pavel Kaderabek and David Raum are set to remain key outlets for Hoffenheim going forward. Raum is among the best wing-backs in the league, and his ability to make darting runs forward, coupled with his exceptional crossing, could cause danger for the Bayern Munich backline, especially with Georginio Rutter and Andrej Kramaric spearheading the TSG frontline.

Hoeness does have other options in attack, with Munas Dubbur appearing to be a more traditional alternative to Kramaric or Rutter in the No. 9 slot. Ihlas Bebou is another option should Hoeness opt for raw pace in the final third.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Baumann; Posch, Grillitsch, Vogt; Kaderabek, Samassekou, Geiger, Raum; Baumgartner; Kramaric, Rutter

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Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich were dealt with a massive boost in midweek as Manuel Neuer came back into the lineup. His return coincided with a massive 7-1 victory for the Bavarians.

There were further positives for Bayern as both Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, who had picked up slight knocks in midweek, are available and fit to feature against Hoffenheim. We expect at least one of them to feature in the attack, alongside Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Robert Lewandowski.

In midfield, Leon Goretzka remains out, while Nagelsmann is yet to put his faith in Marc Roca. It could ultimately see Jamal Musiala once again partner Joshua Kimmich in the No. 6 slot. Musiala can operate into a more advanced role, if necessary, temporarily giving Bayern a numerical superiority in the final third.

Defensively, Alphonso Davies remains on the sidelines, but after the failed experiment with Omar Richards, Nagelsmann could go back to Lucas Hernandez at left-back. The Frenchman, though, may have to operate more defensively given how frequently Dayot Upamecano has made errors this season.

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

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Key Stats

  • Sebastian Hoeness won the 2019/20 3. Liga as coach of the Bayern reserves, while Nagelsmann oversaw a club record 116 Bundesliga matches as Hoffenheim boss.
  • Chris Richards, who played under Hoeness for Bayern II, has made 31 competitive appearances for Hoffenheim compared to 10 in the colours of his parent club.
  • Robert Lewandowski has scored 14 goals in 23 competitive appearances against Hoffenheim, including a goal in six of his last seven matches against them.
  • At 19, Jamal Musiala is set to become the youngest player in Bayern history to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances.
  • The match will be Bayern’s 1934th in the Bundesliga, levelling the all-time appearance record held currently by Werder Bremen.

Player to Watch

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski will be under the spotlight this weekend following a couple of disappointing performances in the Bundesliga. He failed to score against Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt and is slowly drifting away in his bid to match or even break his own record of scoring 41 Bundesliga goals last season.

The Pole did find his scoring boots in midweek, scoring a quick-fire hat-trick to help Bayern down Salzburg 7-1 at the Allianz Arena. He will be aiming to maintain a similar level of performance when his team takes on Hoffenheim this weekend.

Lewandowski has currently scored 28 goals in 25 matches. He will be desperate to find a few more this weekend, making him the one worth keeping an eye on in this crucial Bundesliga encounter.

Prediction

Hoffenheim 1-3 Bayern Munich

Despite a couple of poor performances in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich have rediscovered their mojo, partly thanks to the 7-1 victory over Red Bull Salzburg in midweek. The return of key players such as Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller has served as a major boost for Nagelsmann’s unit as well, and with that in mind, it is hard to imagine anything other than a victory for the Bavarians this weekend.

Given their superiority on paper, coupled with the red hot form of Lewandowski, it will be difficult for the Hoffenheim defence to contain the opposition, especially without the services of Richards and Hubner. However, we do expect the hosts to trouble the Bayern defence with their own quality going forward and perhaps score a consolation goal.

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