The first official match against Augsburg since 18 years and everybody expects a thrashing victory. To make things worse for the opponent, a very high number of players isn’t available due to injuries, namely: team captain Uwe Möhrle, left-back Marcel de Jong, new signing Dawda Bah, midfielders Marcel Ndjeng and Axel Bellinghausen and the experienced keeper Simon Jentzsch. And those are just the rather important ones.
While the promoted side hasn’t done too well so far, they profit from the disappointing starts of other BL teams such as Hamburg and Mainz. Avoiding relegation would be a miracle, since even the club was aware of the own chances and decided not to invest more than they have, a mistake many teams make (it occasionally pays off, though, but if it doesn’t…).
Last season, the squad led by Jos Luhakay managed to gain promotion for the first time since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963, only ten years after enforced relegation to the fourth-tier league due to financial problems. Looks like they learned their lesson in Swabia.
Back to this season: so far, Augsburg only managed to win one match, with a late penalty kick against struggling Mainz, but they lead the league in draws. Matches against what’s considered a top club have been rather terrible experiences, losing 1-4 v Leverkusen and 0-4 v Dortmund (although, to be fair, they earned a point against Bremen). Unless Bayern can’t cope with the absence of two important players, this should definitely be a win for the guests.
Which leads us to the lineups. Bayern, as you all know, will have to do without the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger, Breno and Arjen Robben. Jerome Boateng will miss this match because of the red card he was shown in Hannover. I already told you about Augsburg’s injury woes, they’ll furthermore miss striker Torsten Oehrl after he was sent off in Cologne.
Lukukay usually lets his team play a 4-2-3-1 system but it is said that he will opt for a slightly more defensive formation this time, a 4-3-2-1, also known as Christmas Tree (you’ll see why in a second). Heynckes’ only mystery is how he’s going to replace Schweinsteiger. If you follow me on Twitter, you also know the options. If you don’t, here they are:
- David Alaba directly replaces Schweinsteiger
- David Alaba plays as right midfielder, with Müller moving to center and Kroos being the Schweinsteiger replacement
- Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Luiz Gustavo start alongside one another, a realistic but in my opinion not great solution because of a lack of ball control and distribution
- Danijel Pranjic directly replaces Bastian Schweinsteiger, rather unlikely since Heynckes doesn’t seem to have a high opinion of him
It’s not as much the question what I expect than more what I want. None of the aforementioned can really replace him but I think Toni Kroos comes as close as it gets. Is it possible that this ruins the offensive flow? No doubt but every option has its flaws.
Here are the possible lineups:
Verhaegh – Callsen-Bracker – Langkamp – Hosogai
Brinkmann – Sinkala – Davids
Baier – Gogia
Ribery – Müller – Alaba
Kroos – Gustavo
Lahm – Badstuber – van Buyten – Rafinha
I mentioned the last official match against Augsburg. It was a cup match, almost exactly 217 months ago. Bayern won 6-0. Augsburg’s last win? 3-1, on Sunday exactly 477 months ago.