Let’s get the boring jazz out of the way:
Last weekend was really…crap and now Bayern are sitting in 2nd place with 48 points, seven behind reigning champions Borussia Dortmund, and just 1-point ahead of Borussia Mönchengladbach. Luckily, Bayern’s home form is much, much better than their away form. At Allianz, FCB have won 10 matches, and lost 2. The last home match was against Schalke, and ended 2-0 thanks to the magical Ribery.
Hoffenheim are sitting 10th in the Bundesliga in between the likes of Magath’s Wolfsburg and our loving neighbors, Nürnberg. Their away form is not that great, having won 4 matches, drawn 1, and lost seven. Their last match against Köln ended 1-1. Vukcevic scored in the 13th minute and a late Podolski equalizer stole two points out of their grimy, blue hands.
Now, if you’ll remember the last time Bayern played Hoffenheim, aside from the boring 0-0 end score, two FCB fans were thrown out of the stadium for having sex in the stands. I don’t know about you, but I hold a lot of respect for this couple. Their team wasn’t scoring down below, so they took the matter in to their own hands. We can only hope the voyeurs will make the trip to Allianz and reach their happy ending just as Holger Badstuber slams the ball in to the back of Starke’s net. There is a joke here and I will allot you three seconds of creative freedom.
1, 2, 3. Moving on! Who will we see on the pitch?
Bastian Schweinsteiger returned to training this week following his 70th injury this season. What? It was only his second? Tell that to my broken heart and the (probably illegal) number of candy bars I have consumed in his absence. When Bastian is gone, the team doesn’t just fall apart, the world falls apart. Tornados and Santorum floods in America, while German chancellor Angela Merkel babysits all of Europe and then suddenly an army of human rights activists have descended on to the Earth and want to invade Africa! This is your fault, Mr. Schweinsteiger. Shifty-eyed Heynckes hopes to include him in the squad this weekend, but of course he’s lacking match practice (but he’s not lacking on the Chipsfrisch front). World peace should return when the pig climber makes his way to the bench this weekend.
But, of course, when one returns another (or 3) withdraws. Arjen Robben was suffering from muscle problems, or perhaps a bruised ego, all week, but was able to complete full training on Thursday. After falling asleep on his Playstation 3, Holger Badstuber only participated in limited training, but neither his back nor his Playstation should keep him out of contention for Saturday. The unlucky one this week is Márcio Rafael Ferreira de Souza. In between praising Messi and posting Real Madrid rumors on to his facebook account, little Rafinha has managed to catch the flu. Bathing in chicken noodle soup and orange juice will do little to improve his chances of making the squad this weekend.
(Oh and FYI, I bring you all news of our less-popular centerbacks. Daniel van Buyten underwent surgery this last week to remove a metal plate from his foot. He will resume sports rehab once that has healed. Breno, on the other hand, is undergoing sports rehab and could probably go to the slammer for 10 years, but we have a man with an afro coming to Allianz in the fall, so I guess that’s cool. #streetcred.)
As for who WILL be playing, well, we’ve got ourselves in quite the pickle, no? The Great Wall of Bavaria (who, by the way, was criticized far too much for his performance against Leverkusen last week) will be in goal. Boateng and Badstuber will continue their sweet, sweet love affair in central defense. Lahm should be moved to the right to avoid another, Tymo disaster, with our only other option, David ‘nugget’ Alaba on the left. Midfield could leave us with Gustavo and Kroos (I wouldn’t expect Schweinsteiger in the starting line-up), and then our usual suspects up front.
The new, fresh, and exciting 4-2-3-1 formation will bring us this:
Neuer; Lahm – Boateng – Badstuber – Alaba; Gustavo – Kroos; Robben – Müller- Ribery; Gomez.
But I fully expect old shifty-eyes to take a massive dump all over this prediction. MOVING ON.
On the Hoffenheim side, not much matters outside the fact that MARKUS BABBEL is returning. Last time we saw the man, he was with Hertha Berlin and Bayern pounded that ghost-of-a-team in to the ground with the match ending 4-0. Since then, Babbel has left the Berliners (and the jelly donuts) behind, following his nose (and wallet) to Hoffenheim. Now he’s living the dream, at the helm of a respectable club. He’s got money in his pocket and fans in the stands. Wait…nevermind. But he does have money and Americans on his side! He’s like Mitt Romney! Anyways, if that fails, he could always go to Disneyland and become a pirate.
As for the team, Andreas Beck, or Andy Black as Ryan Babel likes to call him, is facing a one-match ban following his 10th yellow (Holy sh–). Speaking of Babel, the former Liverpool man has taken to tweeting worldly advice on his twitter account including this gem, “When you’re sad, just remember you’re the one sperm that won the race.” I have nothing to add here, just wanted to give you some motivation to finish reading this preview.
So on the pitch you will probably see:
Starke; Johnson, Vestergaard, Compper, Braafheid; Rudy, Weis; Vukcevic, Firmino, Babel; Mlapa
Braafheid is my personal man of the match already.
Anyhow, the match will air at 15:30 German time. North Americans can watch the match live at 9:30EST on ESPN3.com. In the UK, you can catch a replay at 11:30PM GMT. Feel free to tweet me here or here and I will braid your hair, hold your hand, and find you a stream. And, of course, if you are attending the match, please remember to use contraception.