Erm…yeah…football. Bundesliga. Kinda unimportant these days but we have to. Bayern will travel to Bremen where Werder, who are still fighting for Europa League qualification, are waiting for a battle of the substitutes.
I’m not trying to fake excitement. Just like the last match against Mainz and the final two matches against Stuttgart and Köln, this doesn’t matter. Eight points away from the title, eight points away from missing direct Champions League qualification, very weird things would have to happen for Bayern not to finish second. And as long as there are other, significantly more important matches coming up, these matches will be used to rest regulars, to give the unwanted/-needed an opportunity to impress, maybe even in order to gain interest from other clubs.
So, here we are, about to enter chapter two of the book “Let’s Watch Some Bundesliga Football Without Caring Too Much”. Werder Bremen have only won one of the last nine league matches, risking the Europa League eligibility that already seemed to be so safe a few weeks ago. To make things worse, they’ll now have to do without a whole bunch of guys. Defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Clemens Fritz (both 10th booking) and Sebastian Boenisch (red card) are all suspended, left-back Florian Hartherz, defensive midfielder Philipp Bargfrede and offensive midfielders Marko Marin and former Mehmet Ekici (former FCB) are all out due to injuries. And those are just the players who would’ve been realistic options for the starting eleven. Furthermore, a couple of guys are doubtful (Prödl, Arnautovic, Hunt, Ignjovski), some more, some less.
Bayern on the other hand only have to do without Holger Badstuber who was booked for the fifth time this season against Mainz (Daniel van Buyten and Breno are injured, needless to say). While Jupp Heynckes doesn’t have to, he most likely is going to field a squad without too many regulars. Philipp Lahm and David Alaba deserved some rest, Rafinha and Diego Contento can replace them. The fourth defender, Jerome Boateng, unfortunately will have to start due to a lack of options, most likely alongside Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. In central midfield, Toni Kroos isn’t expected to start and Luiz Gustavo shouldn’t start (but, again due to a lack of options, might). Jupp Heynckes already hinted at Bastian Schweinsteiger playing about an hour to regain fitness, his partner could be either Gustavo or, hopefully, Danijel Pranjic. Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez surely are not going to a part of the starting lineup, Arjen Robben might for a confidence boost (although I doubt that he needs it), Thomas Müller most likely is going to. Ivica Olic will play, Nils Petersen and/or Takashi Usami might and, just like with Pranjic, hopefully will.
Since there’s no reason to overanalyze this fixture, at least not from a Bayern-based point of view, let’s look at the expected/desired starting lineups:
Rafinha – Tymoshchuk – Boateng – Contento
Schweinsteiger – Pranjic
Usami – Müller – Olic
Pizarro – Rosenberg
Hunt – Trybull – Junuzovic
Schmitz – Naldo – Affolter – Prödl
A win would be nice but don’t expect it.