Eintracht Braunschweig is back in the Bundesliga for the first time in 28 seasons, during which time FC Bayern München have won 14 Bundesliga titles, nine DFB Pokals, two UEFA Champions League trophies, and one UEFA Cup trophy. Braunschweig is currently at the bottom of the Bundesliga while FC Bayern have a firm lead on top.
Braunschweig ended their top flight drought by collecting 67 points in the second division, only losing five times. The odds of staying in the top division are a little stacked though. In seven of the last eight Bundesligas, at least one promoted team has returned to the second league the following season. With Hertha BSC in seventh, that makes Braunschweig the more likely club to go down.
That does not mean FC Bayern should take this club lightly.
"They won in Wolfsburg and against Leverkusen, and scarcely lost to Dortmund and Schalke," said Pep Guardiola to fcbayern.de. "They have done well against strong teams."
While it has played in Allianz Arena before against TSV 1860 München, Eintracht has not come face on with the Rekordmeister atmosphere, something that could be a driving force.
FC Bayern are currently on a 14 match winning run against recently promoted sides in the Bundesliga, and a 12 match winning run at home against such clubs. Braunschweig will have a punch, but it might be hard to bring the 38-match unbeaten streak down.
The Match (42nd meeting)
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Head: Tobias Stieler
FC Bayern: 3 W, 0 D, 0 L – 4 YC
Assistants: Patrick Ittrich, Sascha Thielert
Fourth Official: Detlef Schepp
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Television and Streaming
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FC Bayern: WWWWW
Bundesliga: 20 W, 11 D, 5 L
DFB Pokal: 3 W, 1 D, 1 L
Biggest Victory: 6-0 (February 25, 1984, Munich Germany)
Biggest Defeat: 2-5 (April 15, 1967, Braunschweig, Germany)
With the addition of Philipp Lahm's injury, Guardiola once again does not have that much to work with. He needed three reserves to house the bench – Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Mitchell Weiser, and Julian Green – and he now might need to depend on a few as substitutes for a few games.
Based on the FC Bayern website, Franck Ribery will not be available come Saturday, and Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro are not quite ready for full training. Without the UEFA European Player of the Year, Arjen Robben will likely fill his shoes once again.
The status of Mario Mandzukic is also up in the air after the club elected not to bring him to Moscow with calf problems. If he is in fact inactive for the game, Mario Götze will likely start up top once again. Götze recently told kicker.de "now I am 100 percent," which is bad news for any of FC Bayern's upcoming opponents.
The back line will be worth watching, and not just because of Diego Contento's "problem with the leg" injury. Dante and Jerome Boateng paired against CSKA Moskva, but with another midweek match against FC Augsburg, Daniel van Buyten could get a look. If Guardiola does not start him in one of the next two matches, he will be edging towards irrelevance instead of importance.
By the way, to determine for professional reserves will play on Saturday, tune into the FC Bayern II match on Friday. It also may be a minor indicator of which players on the fence are healthy and which are not.
Barring any good injury news, the team sheet will be very obvious to predict.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1)
Alaba – Dante – Boateng – Rafinha
Bench: Tom Starke, Contento, van Buyten, Jan Kirchhoff, Højbjerg, Weiser, Mandzukic
With matches against Hertha Berlin at home, FC Augsburg on the road and TSG Hoffenheim at home to end the fall portion of the campaign, Eintracht Braunschweig has a chance to escape the bottom two and rekindle their holding hopes. Clean sheets against VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen will support those hopes.
As one can guess, Braunschweig does not control a lot of possession in their matches. The club averages a Bundesliga worst 43.6 percent of time on the ball per match, partially due to their second worst 74 percent passing percentage. Die Löwen do take the chances they have, averaging 12.5 shots for game (12th in the Bundesliga).
Karim Bellarabi is the club's central option. He's spent most of his time in attacking midfield, scoring two of Braunschweig's eight Bundesliga goals from that position while assisting two more as a striker. Dominick Kumbela has spent the most time up top, although his two goals in 11 appearances gives an idea of his effectiveness.
34-year-old Deniz Dogan anchors a back line that has surrendered one goal in the last three matches after conceding five in the previous two. With Ken Reichel still on the mend, Emrin Bicakcic has seen most of the action as Dogan's partner.
With no cup aspirations after the first round, Torsten Lieberknecht can put out the strongest side he has.
Projected Lineup (4-3-2-1)
Boland – Bellarabi
Theuerkauf – Vrancic – Kratz
Perthel – Dogan – Bicakcic – Elabdellaoui
Bench: Petkovic, Correia, Washausen, Caligiuri, Oehrl, Ademi, Kruppke
This might seem a bit like a trap game, like the infamous SC Freiburg match, with the midweek DFB Pokal match against FC Augsburg. While die Roten don't seem to push the pedal to the metal all the time, they do tend to at home. Braunschweig has held tough the past few matchdays, but it will have to be tougher in the Allianz. FC Bayern should at least make it 39 matches unbeaten.
Projected Score: FC Bayern München 3-0 Eintracht Braunschweig