Match Week 25 of the 2013-2013 Bundesliga season. Bayern has the second leg of the Champions League tie with Arsenal following. That may or may not lead to some line-up alterations, but even so we'll go into the match as heavy favorites. You figure we'll probably lose or draw at least a couple matches between now and June ... but I have a hunch this won't be one of them.
Despite a talkative week, I think Arjen Robben may be held out of action again. It's also been a long time since Dante got a rest (and Lahm, obviously). Boateng got a yellow last week, but I'm pretty sure he's still not at the suspension point, so I have a hunch he'll play. Here's my guess:
Ribery - Kroos - Shaqiri
Martinez - Schweinsteiger
Contento - van Buyten - Boateng - Lahm
Raf is seemingly over the flu, so it wouldn't shock me to see him in for Lahm. But after predicting Contento, Boateng, DvB and Shaq to start, I guess I'll stop there. As always, let me know where I'm wrong in the comment section.
Starting off the year with 5 straight clean sheets in the league was a promising debut for Fortuna in their first year back in the 1. Bundesliga in over a decade. But their relative lack of quality caught up with them starting in October, and their loss at the hands of Bayern was one in a six-match streak without a win. Right now, they sit in a respectable 12th, but their 28 total points would leave them in trouble if we weren't in a year with 3 teams playing exceptionally poorly.
Even so, their goal differential is a decent -3, and their road form is not awful (especially defensively: only 14 goals allowed in 11 road matches). Over the winter, they made a move for Martin Latka, a Czech defender who has started the last few matches and who brings certain bulk to the back line. And their last 2 matches have been somewhat encouraging: a 1-1 draw with Mainz (granted, helped by an own goal) and a 2-1 loss to S04 where Schalke needed a winner in the last 10 minutes. They rarely control possession. Even 3 weeks ago, in playing at home vs. SpVgg, they kept the ball less than half the time. But they defend competently and without panic, and Fabian Geifer can be tough to beat without well-worked attacks.
Elsewhere in the Competition
Schalke battles Dortmund in a grudge match at the same time as the Bayern game; I'm surprised Gol! TV stuck with our match, but Schalke-BVB will be played on the replay right afterwards. A chance for Schalke to get back in (or at least towards) a CL spot, but keep in mind they have a midweek match against Galatasaray following. Who knows what kind of line-up they'll field.
In other action, Mainz hosts Leverkusen and suddenly-relevant Hamburg travels to Stuttgart.
- The time of the Bayern match, in your current area:
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
This is the last day before US daylights savings time screws things up for a bit. On Sunday, the US will be one our closer to German time ... I think.
- A nice article about Bayern in Al-Jazeera. Do you think this means BeIn Sport will try to pick up Bundesliga matches?
- We'll be here tomorrow morn with the Match Day Thread, then immediately afterwards with a recap and highlights. Thanks for reading.