It’s been a long time since the FC Bayern reserves played their last competitive match (a 2-2 against Mannheim almost three months ago). Since then, they lost two players, Deniz Mujic joined FC Pasching and Saer Sene now plays for New England Revolution, and played 10 test matches. Four of these were won (Heimstetten, Lohfelden, Salzburg Juniors, Rosenheim), four ended in a draw (Burghausen, Nürnberg II, Ried, Ismaning) and only two were lost (Regensburg, LASK).
What’s the purpose of the remaining 14 (+ a few test) matches? The disappointing first half of the campaign unfortunately ruined the chances for promotion and, due to restructuring, there will be no relegation. So in terms of the standings, this season doesn’t matter anymore. Now it’s about giving the talents chances to play and gain experience, about starting to form a team for next season when, according to club officials, it is the absolute top priority to gain promotion. It has even been announced that there will be bigger investments to make that happen so we might expect more Dale Jennings-like transfers.
For the hosts, SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (don’t even try to pronounce that if you’re not German), it’s a completely different situation. They’re currently second, three points behind league leaders Stuttgarter Kickers and since only the champion gets rewarded with promotion to the third division, every match matters. Unless you’re a true expert, you don’t know a single of Großaspach’s players. Team captain is center ack Dennis Grab, top scorer the German-born Italian Nicolo Mazzola, their starting goalkeeper is a young Austrian named Christopher Knett who already assisted the game-winning third goal in the first leg back in September (Großaspach won 3-2, Toni Vastic scored both goals for Bayern, Matthias Morys with a brace for the opponents). Fun fact: their stadium, Comtech Arena, was paid for by a group of investors including Mario Gomez.
As you might now (regular readers of this blog do), the second team has to deal with immense injury problems this season. Some fitter than others but all most likely not fit enough to start, these names are expected to not be available for Andries Jonker:
- Anduele Pryor
- Bastian Müller
- Boy Deul
- Dale Jennings
- Manuel Fischer
- Nicolas Jüllich
- Niklas Horn
Furthermore, Cüneyt Köz will serve a one-match ban following a sending-off against Mannheim. Emre Can is expected to be a part of the first-team squad in Leverkusen and whether Takashi Usami will play another match for the reserves is doubtful since he’ll leave Munich in a few months and these matches are about development, not success.
Considering all these things and the starting lineup in the last test match against the Austrian second division club LASK Linz, this is the most probable starting eleven on Friday:
Dombrowka – Pangallo – van der Meulen – Vrzogic
Dreier – Strieder (Can)
Altinay (Strieder) – Vastic – Chessa
If you’re looking for Großaspach’s lineup, ask somewhere else, I can’t help you. All I can tell you is that right-back Marius Jurczyk won’t be available due to an injury but new signing Shaban Ismaili, a former RB Leipzig player, is ready to replace the Pole. Michele Rizzi and Patrick Marschlich, both midfielders, are suspended after collecting five yellow cards. A potential weak point? The match starts on 7 pm local time this Friday, make sure to follow Club Nr 12 on Twitter for live updates.