Preview: FC Bayern vs. Werder Bremen

Christof Koepsel - Bongarts/Getty Images

A clash of two good sides as table toppers Bayern Munich take on a dangerous Werder Bremen side. Bayern is going on the road and looking to keep the season's perfect record intact in ...

Match Week 6 of the 2012-2013 Bundesliga season. Bayern comes off of a comprehensive victory over VfL Wolfsburg, while Werder earned a tough come-from-behind win on the road in their mid-week match. Uli Hoeneß has cautioned against complacency, reminding the club that last year started out with a bang, too, before the winter months saw Bayern stumble a bit. For Werder, meanwhile, a point from this match would ensure they remain in the top half and boost their confidence tremendously, while a loss would leave them sliding back towards "mid-table" status.

The Line-Up

Both Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller were left out of the starting line-up on Tuesday, with Müller not even on the roster. So I'd tend to believe that one or both of them start. I was waiting for the club to put up the official preview, but as of 11 Eastern they have not; I was hoping to hear news on David Alaba, who has returned to training but may or may not be ready for game action. We also have word that Daniel van Buyten is healthy (this from just yesterday). OK, here's my guess:

Mandzukic

Ribery - Kroos - Müller

Gustavo - Schweinsteiger

Badstuber - Dante - Boateng - Lahm

Neuer

I'd like to guess something different on the back four, but without confirmation, I'll play it safe and say "if Alaba, Rafinha, or DvB plays, it will be from the bench." Javi Martinez has been great and Robben is obviously the man, just a hunch that they'll be held out with a Champions League match coming up.

As always, if you have a different guess or better information, let's hear it in the comments.

The Opponent

Werder Bremen is always tougher at home than they are away from it. Last year, they won 8 at the Weserstadion with a +8 goal differential, while they won only 3 away with a -17. Against Bayern last season, the pattern held true, as we beat them decisively at the Allianz, while we needed a late winner and a bit of look to eke out a 2-1 win at their place. So this won't be an easy win for Die Roten, despite our sparkling form.

I just realized that we did two striker-swaps this off-season; not only did we let Olic go to VfL, with Mandzu coming the other way, but we also picked up Pizarro from Werder, while sending Petersen out on loan to them. Petersen leads the line with Werder's 4-1-4-1 formation, but the key to their attack is the 2 guys behind him (the middle 2 of their attacking "4" line) - Aaron Hunt and Kevin de Bruyne. On any given attack, either of those guys can scramble forward into open space, giving it a look more like a 4-1-3-2; but it's a flexible attack, with one or both of them staying more in a "Kroos" position. Not only will Bayern's CBs have to be alert, but our CMs (whoever they are) can't get caught going forward every time.

At the same time, Werder is not the toughest squad defensively. They let up 2 last weekend to a rather punchless VfB team, and before that they gave up 3 to H96. So the opportunities should be there, if we can take them.

Elsewhere in the Competition

In a few hours, Fortuna Düsseldorf goes up against Schalke in a very intriguing match-up. Fortuna is the defensive and goal-keeping stalwart of the league, Schalke a pretty threatening attack with good strikers and midfielders. Dortmund hosts BMG in a Borussian Derby (I guess? I always that S04 was Dortmund's bigger local rival) on Saturday, along with Augsburg's visit to Hoffenheim, where I'm already on record as predicting a win for the Auggies.

Eintracht Frankfurt hosts Freiburg on Sunday, looking to continue their surprise run and stay undefeated.

Final Notes

- The match kicks off at 3:30 PM local time, 9:30 AM here in the states. I'm going to try this again:

Convert time zones with worldtimebuddy.com

If that works, it should tell you what time we kick off on your current computer or phone.

- We'll be carried live on Gol! TV in North America, and I think the Dortmund / BMG match will be carried live afterwards.

- They're calling for rain on Saturday, and the Weserstadion does have an open top. Hopefully that won't affect the game, but if Bremen wants to slow things down, maybe that would help them.

- As far as the site: it appears that the slow loading times are getting better on computers, but things still aren't up to speed on some mobile devices. We're ironing this out as fast as we can, and that should be up to normal by next week. If you can't access all content, can't see or leave comments, or otherwise have complaints, email us at bayern.offside@yahoo.com and I'll see what I can do. Thanks for reading.

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