Four days after the unnecessary loss against Inter, it’s time to focus on the
main only remaining goal of the season: Winning as many Bundesliga matches as possible to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The opponent is the third-worst team of the second half of the season.
It’s been talked about so often, now it’s time to make it come true: Save the crazy season by qualifying for the Champions League, either directly (2nd place) or through qualification (3rd place). The reason is simple: besides the obvious “a club like Bayern has to play Champions League”, next year’s final takes place in Munich’s shiny Allianz Arena. Who doesn’t dream of winning such a trophy at home?
Freiburg played a fantastic first 17 games but the Breisgau boys’ performances have declined since the winter break. Or, to be more accurate, they’re not as lucky anymore. The team led by Robin Dutt, the tactically competent coach who is rumored to take over Leverkusen after the season, often relied on goal-getter Papiss Cisse (17 goals, one less than Mario Gomez) to win close games. In 2011, it doesn’t work that well anymore for whatever reason. They need to win to keep their last hopes of the Europa League alive.
Based on the last two performances, we can expect a lot of scoring chances for Bayern. The question is whether they use them (like v HSV) or not (like v Inter). With Mainz playing against all-but-champion Dortmund, Leverkusen meeting a Schalke side that could be very motivated now that the ‘dictator’ is gone (or they don’t care since the new coach isn’t responsible yet) and Hannover fighting a counter-attack battle against Hoffenheim (who just beat the aforementioned all-but-champion), a win could be a huge help in the standings.
Breno is still suspended (he’ll be back for the next match) but that doesn’t mean that the center back wheel can’t be asked for advice again. The only thing that seems to be certain is that Holger Badstuber won’t start. Arjen Robben is fit so the offense won’t be changed. Freiburg is most likely gonna use the preferred 4-1-4-1 again with “Cissessadki” (SCF Official Website), Papiss Cisse and Yacine Abdessadki, being the main offensive threats. Since their offense is rather small and relies more on speed than on physicality, I predict that van Gaal will decide against Daniel van Buyten.
It’s gonna be interesting to watch the team’s reaction after Tuesday’s loss. Will they rack up an important victory against a struggling squad or will they be as insecure as they were before the win v Hamburg? The only way to find out the answer is to watch the match (Americans, don’t forget about the daylight saving effect).