In a world where the luxury of derbies are typically reserved for clubs in the north, we now have the pleasure of two Bavarian derbies in a row. This week, the lads from Augsburg will take the 45 minute trip to Allianz Arena and throw down the gauntlet for a showdown of epic proportions. Match of the season right here.
Bayern are on a brilliant run at the moment. Strong wins, important wins, boring wins – whatever works to keep the title fight alive, on all fronts. Since the 7-1 match against Hoffenheim, Bayern have conceded just twice, and scored 27. That’s an average of 3.38 goals per game in the last 8 fixtures. Our not-so-secret weapons on the flanks, Ribery and Robben are in fantastic form as well. The Bavarian-Frenchman has provided 8 assists in 8 matches, and the flying (and sometimes pouting) Dutchman has been directly involved in 15 of the 27 goals. Bayern will aim to keep this run of form going against the other Bavarian giants this weekend.
Augsburg are experiencing a resurgence after months of poor performances in the league. After many moons spent in the drop zone, with fellow….Burg, Freiburg, FCA are sitting pretty in 14th ahead of another Burg, Hamburg. Last week they won 2-1 against a crisis-mode Köln, with goals from Koo (sweet name), and Rafael. This is of course, all due in part to the brilliance of Jos Luhukay. You may know him as the Soup Nazi. His secret for success, including a draw against Borussia Dortmund (as delicious as a crab bisque), has left many clubs stupefied. Mainz, Hertha, Bremen, and Köln are just some of his victims. Luckily, Bayern has the ability to make their own soup. Corn and crab chowder, anyone? You’re through Augsburg. Pack it up. No more soup for you.
Gustavo will have to sit this one out. The Brazilian, who by the way has the Virgin Mary tattooed upon his breast (Happy Easter), was shown his fifth yellow in the previous Bavarian derby, and is suspended. Luckily, there are no injuries. Unless you count that twinge of pain in Bastian Schweinsteiger’s heart as he gazed longingly at the Champions League trophy this past Tuesday. One day it will be yours, my dear pig climber. One day.
Mario Gomez, who we’re now unfortunately stuck with until 2016, will probably lead the line as usual. Or Olic. But never Nils Petersen. Incidentally, Nils ‘Peddo’ Petersen will be removed from the bench and employed as a masseuse. The weight of carrying the entire country on their Bavarian shoulders has taken a toll on the usual starting XI and a fresh set of phalanges is needed. In the rear, where he likes it, Manuel Neuer will be chilling in goal. Feel free to send the man postcards or a spaghetti dinner (extra Parmigiano-Reggiano) to alleviate any and all boredom. Our love birds, Boateng and Badstuber, will slide in to central defense, while Lahmpoleon takes one of his usual spots. (Can we clone him?)
Everywhere else on the pitch, Shifty Eyes has a chance to rotate the squad. Will he be Contento with Diego? Will our Beacon of Hope climb back in to the starting 11? Has Robben pouted enough to get his spot back? Did Alaba take a nap? Did Franck Ribery pack his beach themed underwear? I’d give you a line up prediction, but I really have no idea. I’d like everybody to stay fresh (and so clean clean) seeing how there’s an important match against Borussia Boredom midweek.
Last week, in a 2-1 victory against Köln, Augsburg used this line-up:
Jentzsch; Verhaegh – Sankoh – Langkamp – Ostrzolek; Hosogai – Baier – Ndjeng – Koo – Bellinghausen; Rafael
As Toni Kroos and company keep pointing out, every match is a final. If we have any hope of winning the salad bowl at the end of the season, this match must be taken care of quick and easy (preferably in the first half, some of us have work to do). Augsburg will probably put up a fight (they’re only 2 points from the relegation playoff position), but Bayern should emerge with 3 points and enough soup to last them until Wednesday.