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Preview: FC Bayern vs. FC Ingolstadt (UPDATED)

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In round 2 of the 2011-2012 DFB Pokal. Bayern has played 15 matches since their last Pokal tie, and almost ran through that gauntlet undefeated - our 2-1 loss to Hannover yesterday was the only one in which we failed to pick up points. Ingolstadt is mired at the bottom of the table in the 2. Bundesliga, although they’re perhaps a little more threatening than this position would lead you to believe. For the second straight week, it’s time for midweek ball.

I'd mistakenly thought this was a Tuesday game. Thanks to Yasirkamal89 for the correction. The good news is that it will be broadcast live on ESPN 3, and our Match Day Thread will be up and running.

The Line-Up

Several interesting decisions to be made by manager Jupp Heynckes.  Jerome Boateng will be suspended for the next 2 Bundesliga matches, so he will probably start and play the full 90 here (especially as he didn’t make it out of the first half vs. Hannover).  Bastian Schweinsteiger has picked up the van Buyten virus, and will probably not play, not that he would have been a sure thing to play anyway.  Going through the layers:

GOALKEEPER

I’d love to see Butt get a start, considering Neuer has played every minute, and probably needs a rest.  Getting Neuer was a great move, but it obscures the fact that Butt is a pretty damn decent ‘keeper himself.  Given that this is almost certainly his last campaign, I hope we can throw him into the mix for matches like this - it’s not like we’d be taking a chance on some nobody.

DEFENSE

Diego Contento (because he’s the first back at both fullback spots) and Boateng (see above - he won’t be playing Bundi ball for a while) are good bets to start.  Other than that, the back line is full of question marks.  Lahm has looked a little slow for the past two games, and maybe needs a rest, but perhaps shredding a weaker team is what he needs to get his confidence back.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the guys who normally plays further upfield - Gustavo, Pranjic, etc - get a few minutes back here.

MIDFIELD

In the center, Tymoschuk didn’t play yesterday and will probably get some minutes.  But the more interesting question is whether we finally get Usami onto the pitch.  If Heynckes can’t even trust him against Ingolstadt, things are not looking good.

STRIKERS

Maybe Olic, maybe Petersen, maybe both.  There’s a chance Gomez will be so angry about his several missed chances that he’d want to score a goal or two as penance, but he’ll probably get a rest.

The Opponent

Interestingly, New York native Edson Buddle (who used to be a scoring machine for LA Galaxy in the MLS, and who played a bit for Team USA in the 2010 World Cup) is laboring away at Ingosltadt.  Edson was supposed to be the speedy “instant offense from the bench” guy for Team USA, but that never worked out.  I am surprised that he couldn’t catch on at a mid-table club in one of Europe’s first division leagues, but maybe his good run of goals for LA Galaxy was just a fluke.  Anyway, Buddle is Ingolstadt’s leading scorer and probably biggest threat that the Bayern defense will face tomorrow:

In addition to good speed and energy, he’s surprisingly adept at getting to balls hanging in the air, either with his head or his foot.

Defensively, Indolstadt has struggled … to put it mildly.  The club has allowed multiple goals in 6 straight matches, and at least 3 goals for 3 straight weeks.  They’ve switched ‘keepers a few times during the season, between Sascha Kirschstein and Ramazan Özcan, but neither has been able to keep the ball out of the net.  Also, Nils Petersen scored on them twice in 2 matches last season, including a stoppage-time winner, so perhaps he can help with the scouting report.

Final Notes

- Jupp Heynckes was angry about the red card issued to Boateng yesterday.  When I watched it last night, I said the ref could have let him off with a yellow, which Heynckes agrees with.  But, when you lash out and shove a guy, you’re giving him the chance to exaggerate the strength of the shove, and giving the official a chance to award a red.  Better to keep your temper and not put it in the hands of the official (who had already been arguing with Heynckes all game).

- Seriously, if Usami can’t get some minutes on Wednesday, that’s just lame. 

- ESPN 3 will be carrying the match, probably with German-language commentary. We'll have a Match Day Thread and a recap as soon as it's over, with video highlights - hopefully a lot of them. Thanks for reading.