The biggest story coming into this match is not who is playing, but rather if SV Werder Bremen and FC Bayern München will even play their match.
According to reports, hurricane "Xaver" is a northerly storm which could cause flooding near the Weserstadion in Bremen. The stadium is right next to the Weser river (hence the name), and flood levels are expected to reach levels of 5.5 meters. Most of the damage was supposed to happen early Friday morning, so Bremen will have to release a something on the state of the ground.
"We can't say yet whether it will happen. The crisis committee is evaluating the situation constantly." said Werder Bremen media director Tino Polster [kicker]. "We hope that we all worked in vain and nothing happens. But we must all evacuate to not make any reproaches for us.
"When the water goes over the dyke, then the game could fail." [Bild]
The match could get postponed, likely after the Winter break considering the FIFA Club World Cup. The reports are worth keeping an eye on, but nonetheless, here's the preview...
The Match (107th meeting)
Head: Marco Fritz
FC Bayern: 6 W, 0 D, 0 L, 3 YC
Assistants: Thorsten Schiffner, Dominick Schaal
Fourth Official: Michael Weiner
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Television and Streaming
USA: GolTV USA
Canada: GolTV Canada
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 1&2 | HD, Sky Go, Liga Total, Liga Total Mobile TV
FC Bayern: WWWWW
Bundesliga: 43 W, 25 D, 26 L
DFB Pokal: 6 W, 2 L
Ligapokal: 3 W, 1 L
DFL Super Cup: 1 W, 0 L
Biggest Victory: 7-0 (April 12, 1980, Munich, Germany)
Biggest Defeat: 2-5 (September 20, 2009, Munich, Germany)
A hard fought game in Augsburg saw another injury, but depth has not yet hampered this team. Currently on a 39 match unbeaten streak, the loss of some players has paired with the return of others.
In this instance, Arjen Robben receives a six week sentence on the injured list while Franck Ribéry shakes of his shackles. Xherdan Shaqiri an Claudio Pizarro provide manager Pep Guardiola with two tasty cherries to his European Player of the Year sundae.
Guardiola rotated Thomas Müller out of the lineup (however), so he's likely a shoo-in for some pitch time. The question is where he plays, and that is tied to whether which midfielder under 5'10" (Mario Götze or Thiago Alcântara) Guardiola wants to start, or whether he'll sit one of his giants (Toni Kroos or Mario Mandzukic).
Some tactics are intriguing, as Javier Martínez started the German Cup match behind the striker as Kroos and Thiago sat deeper in the formation. Perhaps that had to do with the match-up against Augsburgs Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker and Ragnar Klavlan.
Shaqiri and Pizarro may appear on the bench, although a return to training does not always equal a return to the team sheet. Based on the conditions of the game, perhaps Guardiola may protect some of his players as well.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1)
Ribéry – Toni – Thiago – Müller
Alaba – Dante – Boateng – Rafinha
Bench: Starke, Contento, van Buyten, Kirchhoff, Götze, Shaqiri, Pizarro
SV Werder Bremen's tenure near the top of Fußball has come to a standstill. The sale of Mezut Özil sure has not helped, but the Werderaner seem to be in more of a rebuilding state, with 16 of their 24 players with pitch time under the age of 26.
Last season was a rock bottom of sorts, finishing the lowest in the table (14th) since their most recent relegation year in 1979/80. That cost manager Thomas Schaaf his job, with his assistant Wolfgang Rolff finishing out the season as the skipper. Now Robin Dutt, who last managed at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, has the reigns, his squad currently 13th in the table.
Luckily for Dutt, he might have his "new transfer" back at full strenght, former FC Bayern striker prospect Nils Petersen. Out with a left knee injury, Petersen had been out for six weeks before scoring one of four goals against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim off the bench a week ago. Now Petersen might be able to start again up top for the Green and Whites.
Lukas Schmitz, Franco Di Santo, and Özkan Yildirim were all out of training at the beginning of the week, and Aleksandar Ignjovski stopped training at midweek due to thigh problems, according to the club. Di Santo started for the fifth time against Hoffenheim, but his hip issue could leave room for Petersen up top.
Despite conceding four goals against Hoffenheim, Raphael Wolf is in line to wear the goalkeeper gloves over Sebastian Mielitz, according to the team website. The Munich native said he "senses butterflies and anxiety" going against the German Champions.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1)
Ekici – Hunt – Elia
Makiadi – Bargfrede
Garcia – Caldirola – Lukimya – Fritz
If this game even happens, expect Bayern goals. That's not only because Bremen have given up the fifth-most goals in the Bundesliga, but the Rekordmeister put up eight goals in two matches against Bremen. With a 25-year-old goalkeeper making his second start of the season between the pipes, that's a recipe for defensive exposure. Even though it's on a road, a result is an absolute minimum.