First, the €25 million transfer of Thiago Alcântara to Bayern Munich. Then, the €20 million nudge-away of Luiz Gustavo. Then the injury to Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javier Martínez that undermined the clubs whole plan.
Then the emergence of Philipp "The Midfielder" Lahm, which stabilized the whole midfield again.
Luiz Gustavo appeared to get what he wanted; he stayed in Germany and got less competition for pitch-time. Pep Guardiola appeared to get what he wanted too; an intelligent midfielder and a player who could play the ball at his feet (although, Thiago's injury is unfortunate).
Cheers appear more likely than jeers with Gustavo's return to the pitch, for he was a midfielder that played a part in the first German European treble. He looks slotted to play after his one-game suspension after his double-yellow against Bayer Leverkusen. The question is if there are any hard feelings, although Gustavo's exit was not nasty by any means.
It will be good to see the Goose back on Munich grassland, although it will be weird to cheer against him.
The Match (37th meeting)
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
Television and Streaming: Gol TV (US & Canada), Sky Bundesliga 1 & 2 | HD, Other Countries
FC Bayern: WWWWW
VfL Wolfsburg: WWLWL
Bundesliga: 25 W, 4 D, 3 L
DFB Pokal: 4 W, 0 D, 0 L
Top Scorers (Bundesliga)
1. Giovane Elber, FCB – 11
2. Bastian Schweinsteiger, FCB – 6
3. Claudio Pizarro, FCB; Arjen Robben, FCB – 5
5. Edin Džeko, VfL: Grafite, VfL – 4
Largest Victory: 6-1 (DFB Pokal: April 16, 2013, Munich, Germany)
Largest Defeat: 1-5 (Bundesliga: April 4, 2009, Wolfsburg, Germany)
Biggest Draw: 3-3 (Bundesliga: December 12, 2001, Munich, Germany)
Most Goals Scored: 3; Mario Gómez (April 16, 2013)
To say that FC Bayern are a cliche like "on a roll" or "a hot team" does not even do the squad justice. Bayern have conceded three goals (THREE GOALS!) all season in all competitions, two at home and one away. As Steve Nichol has said on ESPN FC, if you don't concede, you always have a chance.
Rafinha has filled in rather nicely, Dante is back on form, Jérôme Boateng has progressed well as a defender, and David Alaba could support the claim of being the best left back in the world. Lahm tracking back in midfield has been a revelation, and the full return of Schweinsteiger has provided a bigger defensive presence in the center of the park.
The question remains weather Mario Götze, who has said he does not feel pain in his ankle, will return. While Guardiola did not put the €37 million man on the teamsheet in the DFB Pokal, Götze could get a cameo in Matchday 7 if the scoreline is big enough. Martínez and Thiago are still out and likely will not play in September.
With rest, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, Mario Mandžukić should return to the Starting XI on the wings, while Boateng and Alaba should retake their rightful positions in the back four. After rotating the midfield the past few days, somebody between Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller will have to start on the bench, unless Guardiola moves Lahm back to right back.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1):
Ribéry – Schweinsteiger – Müller – Robben
Alaba – Dante – Boateng – Rafinha
Talk about inconsistency. A loss against Hannover 96, a win against Schalke 04. A loss against Mainz, a win against Hertha BSC. A loss against Bayer Leverkusen, a win against Hoffenheim.
Still, they remain in a Europa League spot with a +1 goal differential.
Did Goose give them a boost? Well, Diego and Ivica Olic also have rewound the clock a few years, with the two combining with 5 goals in six matches. In fact, Gustavo has only played three games with the Wölfe, with Ja-Cheol Koo and Jan Polák getting time in the holding midfield.
VfL Wolfsburg were delt a big blow in their DFB Pokal game against VfL Aalen. Vieirinha, a winger who has started six of their seven games, has a torn cruciate ligament in his knee. Marcel Schäfer will have to pick up the slack on the right flank against a fresh Alaba.
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1):
Perišić – Diego – Schäfer
Gustavo – Polák
Rodriguez – Knoche – Naldo – Träsch
Bench: Grün, Ochs, Klose, Medojevic, Koo, Caligiuri, Kutschke
VfL Wolfsburg may have Gustavo, but FC Bayern have the hot streak. FC Bayern not only are unbeaten in their last 32 matches, but are unbeaten against VfL Wolfsburg in their last nine matches. While Bayern are regaining their squad depth, Wolfsburg is losing theirs, and FC Bayern youthful side will be too much for the old farts from Northern Germany.
Projected Score: FC Bayern 2-0 VfL Wolfsburg