If Bayern Munich want to turn up the heat on leaders Bayer Leverkusen ahead of next week’s blockbuster clash, Thomas Tuchel’s men will need to get past bogey side Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.
Bayern are just two points behind Xabi Alonso’s league leaders, with the sides facing off on February 10 in a match with huge title ramifications.
On Saturday however, Bayern host Gladbach, the only side in Germany to have given them consistent problems recently.
Bayern have only won one of their past six against Gladbach, a run which includes a 5-0 German Cup thrashing in 2021.
Tuchel’s side broke the streak with a 2-1 victory earlier in the season at Borussia Park but needed a late goal from Mathys Tel to get across the line.
Gladbach may be 12th in the league after an inconsistent campaign, but form has meant little for a side who always seem to save their best for the big occasion.
Bayern also have to contend with a long injury list, including Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich, Dayot Upamecano and Konrad Laimer, while Kim Min-Jae is away on Asian Cup duty.
Gladbach come into the game with the wind in their sails after a strong start to 2024.
They beat third-placed Stuttgart 3-1 and on Saturday held Leverkusen to a 0-0 draw, becoming just the fourth team in any competition this season to take points off Alonso’s barnstorming side.
Coach Gerardo Seoane said Thursday his team would “need to perform above our limits in all areas” to get a result in Munich, particularly in keeping tabs on star striker Harry Kane, who has 23 goals in 19 league games.
“(He) doesn’t need a lot of chances to score. We know that the ball will end up in the net if we give him too many opportunities.
“It is difficult to control him 100 percent.”
Seoane was not only concerned about the England captain’s output in front of goal.
“He is extremely important for the team, as an anchor and a fulcrum.”
Gladbach defender Joe Scally told AFP on Tuesday that his side would make the trip to the Bavarian capital without fear.
“Playing Munich is always the toughest game of the year.
“It’s going to be a very difficult task, but we’re full of confidence after the 0-0 draw in Leverkusen.”
Leverkusen are in action away at promoted Darmstadt at the same time on Saturday.
Alonso’s men will be heavily favoured against Darmstadt, who sit dead last having won just two games all season.
One to watch: Patrik Schick
The absence of Leverkusen’s star striker Victor Boniface was clear in the stalemate with Gladbach, where the home side failed to make their dominance count on the scoreboard.
In three starts since Boniface was sidelined, striker Patrik Schick has failed to register a goal or an assist despite playing every single minute.
Boniface had 10 goals and seven assists before picking up an injury which will see him ruled out until April.
Schick, who returned to the starting line-up with a hat-trick in December against Bochum after overcoming a series of frustrating injuries, will need to fire should Leverkusen hope to continue their march to a maiden Bundesliga title this season.
World Cup News
/ 3 months ago
FIFA on Saturday confirmed that three bids to host the Women’s World Cup in...
/ 3 months ago
A set of six jerseys that Lionel Messi wore during Argentina’s victorious 2022 World...