Having grabbed Hamburger SV's record by the tail (literally. One of their nicknames is Der Dinosaurier), FC Bayern München are just one result away from further cementing their enshrinement in German Football.
The opponent standing in their way? FC Augsburg, a Bavarian rival and a DFB Pokal adversary.
Unlike the previous meetings against sides beneath their perch at the top, this match seems more predetermined. Augsburg are an ant that FC Bayern cannot wait to fry with their microscope.
Still, considering three consecutive one-goal victories, Augsburg should not be brushed aside, although if one was not a betting man, putting on Bayern would be a pretty safe play.
The Match (7th meeting)
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Head Referee: Peter Gagelmann
FC Bayern: 12 W, 3 D, 3 L – 17 YC, 1 Y/RC, 0 RC
Assistants: Matthias Anklam, Thomas Gorniak
4th Official: Markus Schmidt
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Television and Streaming:
USA: Gol TV
Canada: Gol TV Canada
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 1 & 2 | HD, Liga Total, Liga Total Mobile TV
FC Bayern: WWWWW
FC Augsburg: WLLLD
Bundesliga: 4 W, 0 D, 0 L
DFB Pokal: 2 W, 0 D, 0 L
Biggest Win: 6-0 (DFB Pokal: October 7, 1983, Augsburg, Germany)
Should FC Bayern be discouraged from a 1-0 win away to Czech champions Viktoria Plzen? Well...no. Just four days prior, the team traveled to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and snuck out with a 2-1 win. In the UEFA Champions League just a year ago, the team escaped northern France with a 1-0 victory over Lille. Throw in the draw to SC Freiburg, rescheduled for the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea, and the fact that FC Bayern has remained unbeaten in 38 matches still is an accomplishment, no matter the underwhelming performances against lesser sides.
Now FC Bayern return home, where the victory tree is rich and succulent – die Roten have won 16 consecutive matches in Allianz Arena.
The squad is getting healthier by the day – Arjen Robben could return, at least to the team sheet, after practicing on Wednesday and Thursday. Players are rounding into form – Javier Martínez had a 7.58 whoscored.com rating against Hoffenheim, an above-average performance that included an 88 percent pass completion rate and four successful tackles from the midfield.
With big names like Dante, Jérôme Boateng, and Mario Mandžukić getting somewhat of a breather, Pep Guardiola has set up his outfit for crucial Bundesliga tests over the next week and a half – *aheh* Borussia Dortmund *aheh*. The FC Augsburg game will be an important tune-up, and Guardiola will want to keep his unbeaten record in tact.
The question remains how many goals the Rekordmeister will be able to score, considering the recent track record. FC Bayern have scored eight less goals than their record-breaking season a year ago. There are milestones for a reason, but a concern is still worth raising.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1)
Alaba – Dante – Boateng – Lahm
Bench: Starke, Contento, van Buyten, Rafinha, Højbjerg, Robben, Weiser
A club established in 1907, merged in 1969 with TSV Schwaben, FC Augsburg has been a story of survival. It debuted in the Bundesliga in 2011/12, and just survived in 14th. The next season they were no longer the new kids on the block, and they just survived in 15th.
This season is still about survival, but now-a-days the Bavarian rivals breathe more life than death. The early season form saw FC Augsburg as high as 6th, the highest the club has ever been in the Bundesliga table. Three consecutive losses have pushed the Fuggerstädter back down to 13th, their most recent result a 2-1 win over faltering Mainz.
Their success has mostly come in SGL arena, accounting for 10 of their 13 points on the season. Recent scoring have come on counterattacks, with three of the last four goals coming on breaks. They tend to sit backs against bigger opponents, conceding at least 63 percent of possession to the other top four sides (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, and Borussia Mönchengladbach).
Much of their scoring have come from wingers, with André Hahn and Tobias Werner combining for eight of their 18 goals in all competitions. Hahn is on the greatest form, having scored a Doppelpack in their Mainz victory as well as the lone Augsburg goal in their trip to Leverkusen a week prior.
Manager Markus Weinzierl will be without Jan Morávek, a 24-year-old Czech midfielder who has started 8 of the 11 matches for Augsburg, due to yellow card accumulation. With a goalkeeper situation in flux, Weinzierl will have a tough time choosing the right XI for his club's trip to Munich.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1)
Werner – Altintop – Vogt – Hahn
Ostrzolek – Klavan – Callsen-Bracker – Verhaegh
Bench: Manninger, de Jong, Hong, Philp, Holzhauser, Moravek, Milik
FC Bayern have won all nine home matches under Pep Guardiola. FC Augsburg have lost four of the six matches they have played on the road, their victory a 1-0 result against 1. FC Nürnberg. As above, FC Augsburg have never beaten the Bavarian giants. Need I say more?
Projected score: FC Bayern München 3-0 FC Augsburg