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Preview: FC Bayern vs. Werder Bremen

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boooOOOOOooo! It is I, the ghost of Wednesday Phil, coming at you through the shadows of time! booOOOOoooo!

Which is another way of saying that I wrote this on Wednesday, and am currently vacationing with my wife. Whatever I say below might be outdated or irrelevant by the time this publishes, but I just wanted to give everyone a preview to discuss for this weekend's match.

After the huge win in yesterday's UEFA Champions League game, Bayern must turn our attention to the Bundesliga once again. With Dortmund holding an 8 point lead at the top of the table, Bayern is probably locked into a second-place finish domestically. But the players still have plenty of pride, and this is also a chance for some back-benchers to show what they can do, so I still hope to see Bayern pick up a win.

The Line-Up

Clearly, we're going to see some new faces in the starting XI. But there are some spots where we're not very deep anyway, so a few of the regulars will still see action. Here's my wild guess:

Olic

Pranjic - Mueller - Robben

Schweinsteiger - Tymoschuk

Alaba - Badstuber - Boateng - Contento

Butt

I think Olic, Pranjic, and Tymo are due for some time. Bastian and Mueller didn't play the full 90 minutes yesterday, so they'll probably get the start (but will likely get a chance to rest in the second half). Alaba is young and energetic, so he can probably still give us a few minutes.

There's a chance we could give Tymo a shot at CB (I think he played there a few matches last year). That would allow us to put someone else in the midfield and rest either Badstuber or Boateng. This is certainly a possibility, but my guess is that it will happen as an early substitution rather than in the starting line-up.

The Opponent

Werder B is having a rather typical season - better at home than away, a few good wins, pushing for a Europa League spot. They currently sit in 8th, but only 3 points behind 6th-place Leverkusen for the final Europa spot. In February and early March, Werder was fighting for a space in the top 5, but they've flat-lined a bit since then - winless in their last 6, culminating in last week's 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Stuttgart.

Bremen's strength are at the front and back, with 'keeper Tim Wiese and striker Claudio Pizarro. Their midfield is only average, and even a cobbled-together Bayern "B" line-up will probably have some space to operate. But they are decent at home (8 wins out of 15 matches, +10 goal differential), so it won't be easy.

Final Notes

- I just recorded a Podcast with Gabe and Jared of Managing Madrid. Check out their site later this week to see when it's posted.

- If Pizarro is angling for a Bayern return, this could be his chance to impress. Look for him to go all-out, especially if we have some back-ups in along the back 4, to try to get a goal.

- I'll try to have a Match Day Thread up by game time, but I can't promise anything. Either way, I'll be back in time to preview the 2d leg of the CL Match next week. If my plane crashes and I die, Oatbag is in charge. Thanks for reading.