Preview: FC Bayern vs. VfB Stuttgart

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 30: Javi Martinez (C) presents his new Bayern Munich number alongside head coach Jupp Heynckes (L) and sport director Matthias Sammer during a press conference at Allianz Arena on August 30, 2012 in Munich, Germany.

In the second week of Bundesliga play. And we've got a new player on the squad.

Bayern comes in after a busy week that saw the club decisively win last Saturday, seal the purchase of Javi Martinez by Wednesday, and then pull a rather favorable Champions League draw yesterday. But distractions have to be cast aside, because a slip-up this weekend could put Bayern off the league-wining course. Dropped points early in the season are just as meaningful as those in the last week.

The Line-up

With respect to Martinez, Chairman Rummy says as follows: "The coach has to decide whether he's ready for the squad this weekend. He's a big personality, he imposes his authority, and he already has a strong affinity with FC Bayern, as he's impressively demonstrated in recent days." Bettor.com spins this into a headline of "Rumenigge Hints Martinez May Start Against Stuttgart," but my thought is that he won't be in the starting line-up. Perhaps both of our (I guess?) new Super-Midfield, Javi and Bastian, will start on the bench, and then we'll bring them both in during the 2 half.

My guess:

Mandzukic

Ribery - Müller - Robben

Gustavo - Kroos

Badstuber - Dante - Boateng - Lahm

Neuer

I believe that's actually the same line-up as last week, only with Ribery (who had the flu) in at his normal LW spot. But several options are available, and Shaqiri will surely get some time, either as a starter or on the bench. If you have any line-up information that I'm missing, leave it in the comments or hit us up at bayern.offside@yahoo.com.

The Opponent

Five time champs VfB (most recently in 2007) had a solid season last year and are currently competing in the Europa League. They finished off a two-leg win over Dinamo Moscow the other day and are now in the group stage of that tournament. But last weekend, they got blanked by Benaglio and Wolfsburg, and they now stare down the barrel of two straight losses to start the year.

Julian Scheiber is gone, but Die Anderen Roten still have Martin Harnik at their disposal. Cacau came off the bench last week. They appear to line up in a 4-2-3-1 sort of like ours, but their wings are less aggressive and striker Vedad Ibisevic is somewhat isolated up top. But if they get a quick steal and hit him with a quick pass, he can make us pay. And, fortunately for VfB, their old star Mario Gomez is out - he usually tears them apart.

Elsewhere in the Competition

SpVgg just picked up their first ever Bundesliga win, going on the road to beat Mainz, who must really suck. More importantly, Dortmund travels to Nurnberg, who are coming off a win and could put up a good fight. That one is Gol! TV's early Saturday match, and I'm not ready to rule out the possibility of Nurnberg stealing a point.

Werder Bremen and Hamburg, both coming off of losses, try to avoid dropping two straight. Should be a good environment at the Westerstadion. VfL Wolfsburg, who have looked pretty solid, host H96. But the Bayern - Stuttgart match is probably the biggest of the week, and has prime billing.

Final Notes

- We hit the pitch at 5:30 PM Munich time. Alsamaraie gave us a widget that will tell you what time it kicks off at your location (judged by your IP, I guess), which I shall now attempt to paste:

Convert time zones with worldtimebuddy.com

I won't know if that works until I hit Publish. Anyway, 5:30 local time, 11:30 AM my time, 8:30 AM west coast.

- The broadcast will be carried live on Gol! TV. Not sure who the goal announcers will be. Gino Fuentes, the guy who did it last week (who I like) is probably not going to be doing it. I do think we'll get an English feed, though.

- After this, we have Mainz, followed by a match with Valencia in the CL. So fighting for positions in that Champions League line-up has already started. Kroos, Gustavo, and Boateng will be trying to show they aren't giving up their positions easily, and Mandzukic is trying to make himself impossible to take off the pitch. We'll see if the competition pushes everyone to a higher level, or if creates anxiety and causes problems. Thanks for reading.

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