Bayern Munich will be desperate to get back to winning ways when they take on FC Augsburg at the Allianz Arena this weekend.
Julian Nagelsmann will be under the scanner when Bayern Munich play hosts to FC Augsburg in the Bavarian derby on Saturday. The Bayern coach has not won any trust from fans during his first season in charge, with his team often being criticised for being too experimental and poor defensively.
Bayern’s inconsistency came to the fore in midweek when the team slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League. The disappointing result has ushered in fierce criticism of the manager, with many even expecting him to be fired at the end of the season if Bayern fail to make it to the Champions League semi-finals.
Nagelsmann will look to keep the criticism aside and focus on the Augsburg game, knowing a win could greatly help them in their quest to secure a tenth consecutive Bundesliga title. Bayern are currently sitting at the top with a healthy nine-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
However, their job won’t be made easier by an Augsburg side coming on the back of consecutive wins over Wolfsburg and Mainz. Six points in their last two matches have helped Die Fuggerstadter escape the relegation scrap, though they may still require another win to confirm their Bundesliga status next season.
Augsburg were the triumphant side when the two teams last met each other, but things could be much trickier this time around, with Bayern set to come out all guns blazing in search of a massive response after their midweek defeat.
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— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) April 8, 2022
Julian Nagelsmann faces a selection dilemma heading into the Bavarian derby. He was boosted by the return of Alphonso Davies in midweek, but the Canadian international performed poorly, to say the least. This time around, he might switch to a back three, with Niklas Sule coming back into the team.
Sule could form the three-man backline alongside Lucas Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano, although Tanguy Nianzou is another option after performing brilliantly in recent matches.
There could be a change in midfield as well, with Nagelsmann likely to bring in Leon Goretzka at the expense of Jamal Musiala. The former Schalke starlet should offer the physical presence and dynamism alongside the ever so reliable Joshua Kimmich, though the latter could not perform well against Villarreal in midweek.
In the attack, the shift to a three-man backline should give Nagelsmann the opportunity to field an additional forward. That means Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry could start together on the flanks, with Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller operating in the number ten slots, hoping to offer the productivity in the final third.
The Bayern Munich frontline should be led by Robert Lewandowski as usual. The Pole is hoping to get on to the scoresheet after having a poor game against Villarreal, where he was devoid of any service upfront.
Probable Lineup (3-2-4-1): Neuer; Sule, Upamecano, Hernandez; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Sane, Coman; Lewandowski
FC Augsburg head coach Markus Weinzierl will have to deal with the suspension of Carlos Gruezo this weekend after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season. He is joined by Mads Pedersen (COVID-19), Noah Sarenren Bazee (cruciate ligament rupture), Tobias Strobl (cruciate ligament rupture), and Felix Uduokhai (thigh) in the club’s list of absentees.
— FC Augsburg (@FCAugsburg) April 8, 2022
Given how his side has performed in recent weeks, Weinzierl won’t have much reason to introduce any changes to the team. In fact, the visitors will be boosted by the return of Michael Gregoritsch, who has recovered from COVID-19.
Although the former Schalke forward is unlikely to start, he remains a useful alternative for the strike duo of Andre Hahn and Florian Niederlechner. Weinzierl can also count on the services of other options such as Alfred Finnbogason and January signing Ricardo Pepi.
Pepi can be an alternative for wide players such as Daniel Caligiuri and Ruben Vargas as well, thus adding to Weinzierl’s depth in resources.
Tactically, though, the Augsburg coach could shift to a 4-4-2, knowing his side could have difficulties dealing with the mighty attack of Bayern. The change could see Iago drop in as a left-back, forming the back four alongside Robert Gumny, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw and Reece Oxford.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Gikiewicz; Gumny, Gouweleeuw, Oxford, Iago; Caligiuri, Maier, Dorsch, Vargas; Hahn, Niederlechner
- Robert Lewandowski has scored 22 goals in 18 meetings with Augsburg and has only failed to score in two of his 12 games against them as a Bayern player.
- Serge Gnabry is the highest-scoring German national in the Bundesliga this term, with 11 goals.
- Defeat in the reverse fixture was only Bayern’s third loss in 21 Bundesliga games against Augsburg.
- Augsburg star Niklas Dorsch made his Bundesliga debut for Bayern in a 4-1 win against Eintracht Frankfurt in May 2018. It was his only competitive appearance for the record champions.
- Iago has two goals and four assists to show for his last eight appearances. The Brazilian set up Augsburg’s second goal against Bayern on Matchday 12.
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The midweek result was enough to highlight Leon Goretzka’s influence in this Bayern Munich setup. With the German international missing in midfield, Bayern lacked the control, especially with Joshua Kimmich not having enough support to properly dictate the tempo of the game.
Julian Nagelsmann will have learnt his lesson already and is likely to favour Goretzka in the starting eleven this weekend. The German international certainly is not a hundred percent, but he does have what it takes to make a difference in the middle of the park.
Indeed, Goretzka’s aggression, leadership and ability to offer numerical superiority in the final third could add a new dimension to Bayern’s approach play, potentially making him the most influential player in this tie.
Bayern Munich 4-1 FC Augsburg
Bayern Munich are known for their ability to respond strongly after a bad result. This weekend should be no exception, with Augsburg likely to be a victim of a potential onslaught at the Allianz Arena. The visitors simply do not have enough quality in defence to put a stop to Bayern’s attack and can expect to concede quite a few.
On the flip side, Augsburg do have impressive firepower going forward. They could certainly make life difficult for the Bayern backline, and we are expecting Markus Weinzierl’s men to at least score a consolation goal this weekend.