October 24, 2017

Match Preview: Bayern Munich v VfL Wolfsburg

The first ‘Englische Woche’ of the season serves up what promises to be a great match between last season’s champions Bayern Munich and their challenger and DFB Pokal winners Wolfsburg on Tuesday.

The week six fixture allows Bayern Munch the chance to gain a little revenge over Wolfsburg for their August Super Cup defeat on penalties. To be fair to Bayern, everything they have touched since that loss at the Volkswagen Arena has turned to gold as Pep Guardiola’s side have enjoyed a 100% start to the 2015/16 campaign.

Five wins from five with 15 goals scored and only two allowed is a record the Bavarians can be proud of even if it is expected of them. New signings Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal have settled in very quickly and the early injury loss of Arjen Robben hasn’t been a great detriment thus far.

It is also fair to say that despite the 100% record, there have been a few scares this season, most notably from Hoffenheim and Augsburg, and had those sides kept their nerve and not conceded late goals, the optimistic picture being painted at Bayern, would not be looking so rosy.

The arrival of Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena is the first of three potentially vital home games for the Reds. Dinamo Zagreb visit in the second group game of the Champions League, while the next visitors to their Bavarian stronghold will be Borussia Dortmund- the only other side currently with a spotless record.

Bayern though shouldn’t be looking beyond Tuesday night’s game against a foe that have won two of the three previous clashes.

Dieter Hecking’s side arrive unbeaten in the league, but also without an away win from their trips to Köln or Ingolstadt, being held to a draw against both sides. Third in the table, four points behind the leaders, means they can scarcely allow Bayern three points and a clear advantage.

The theatre over Kevin De Bruyne’s transfer window move is now yesterday’s news and the club can move forward without the unnecessary distraction of that. New arrivals Julian Draxler and Dante have settled well and the Brazilian centre-back will be particularly desperate for a good performance against his former side.

It is Wolfsburg’s defence that has looked particularly pleasing over the past games with no goals conceded in their last four games and another shut out against Bayern in midweek will give them a great chance of leaving the Allianz Arena with a confidence boosting win.

However, the Wölfe’s record in the Englische Woche last season wasn’t the greatest with just one point achieved.

Team news

Bayern should be able to call on the services of striker Robert Lewandowski after the Pole missed out at the weekend because of an ankle injury. The injury list still remains rather lengthy with Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Holger Badstuber, Mehdi Benatia, Jan Kirchhoff, Gianluca Gaudino and Julian Green all unavailable to Pep Guardiola.

Wolfsburg have an injury concern over Luiz Gustavo (knee) while Vierinha has a slight thigh problem. Keeper Coen Casteels is unavailable with a toe injury.

Head-to-head:

Bundesliga played: 36

Bayern won: 27 Wolfsburg won: 4 Draws: 5

Last season: Bayern Munich 2 (Müller,37 Robben,47) Wolfsburg 1 (Olic,52) 0 (22/08/14)

Key men:

Robert Lewandowski

So far this season Thomas Müller has been the main man at Bayern in terms of goals and that is something that will irk Lewandowski a bit. It’s in his nature to be amongst the goals and the top striker, and despite the fact he has already scored three in four appearances, he’ll be itching to get more and usurp Müller as the club’s number one goal-getter. His battle with Dante should be one to look out for.

Bas Dost

Despite being last season’s club top-scorer and hitting a brace in the weekend win over Hertha Berlin, Dutch striker Bas Dost still has something to prove to Dieter Hecking after the trainer criticised the player’s attitude. The coach believes Dost has shown an egotistical attitude since being subbed against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and his demotion to the subs bench against Berlin was a consequence. Should he return to the starting XI, the ideal way to respond would be with a goal scoring display against the champions

What they’re saying:

Pep Guardiola: “Wolfsburg have invested a lot recently. People wanted a competitor for Bayern and not just they are there. We know Wolfsburg’s quality and their style of play. But, as usual, it’s all about the three points.”

Dieter Hecking: “Going into a game against Bayern Munich, you don’t need to flip the switch, the motivation is automatically massive. And it needs to be if you are to fulfil that task. I don’t consider us to be at eye-level with Bayern. We can’t allow ourselves to slip into the belief that we have closed that gap. That is unrealistic.

“We have shown that, on a good day, we can hold our own with Bayern. We need to make a lasting impression. Otherwise you are destined to concede in Munich if you look just to defend. That won’t help. We need to be fully alert from the very first second, believe in our own qualities and not just react to the opponent.”

 

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.