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Bayern Munich Looking for More Success in the Olympiastadion in Berlin

A truly unpredictable side will go for their fourth win in a row to tie their season high.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Over the past three seasons, has there been a better place for Bayern Munich to play than the Olympiastadion?

In their home away from home, Bayern have won two German Cups and have clinched a German championship, and have dominated Hertha Berliner SC in the Bundesliga. The only loss they have suffered in the German capital is a 2-5 loss to Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal final, a result that helped kick-start a multi-year campaign of domestic and international dominance.

Now they return coming off of their first loss of the season, about to take on a team that made a strong statement against 1. FC Köln the week before. Both bouts a year ago were hard-fought affairs for both sides, even though the inevitable result eventually came about. Pep Guardiola and Jos Luhukay have the tactical acumen to make this another intriguing spectacle, even if the result is predetermined.

The Match (65th Meeting)

Location: Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany

Referees
Head: Christian Dingert
FC Bayern: 4 W, 1 D, 0 L – 8 YC

Assistants: Tobias Christ, Arne Aarnink
Fourth Official: Bastian Dankert

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Television and Streaming:
US: GolTV, One World Sports
Canada: GolTV
UK: Betway
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 3 | HD, SkyGo
Other Countries

The Fixture

Form

FC Bayern: LWWWW
Hertha BSC: WLLLW

Records

Bundesliga: 33 W, 16 D, 9 L
DFB Pokal: 2 W, 0 D, 1 L
Ligapokal: 2 W, 0 D, 1 L

Largest Victory: 6-0 (Bundesliga: March 17, 2012, Berlin)
Largest Defeat: 1-4 (Bundesliga: February 1, 1975, Berlin)

The Squad

Bayern are in a very unfamiliar position going into this match day, coming off of their first loss of the season midweek to Manchester City. Road fixtures have not been kind to them this season, for all six points they have dropped have come away from the Allianz.

Though the result did not end positively, the performance to take away from the match was still one to smile about. The Rekordmeister spent over an hour down a man, and it took the Citizens until the end of the match to finally blow the doors down. The dominance truly extends beyond the 11 that take the field week in and week out, and the only problem seems to be getting personnel the playing time they crave.

In the week that David Alaba and Philipp Lahm have been absent from the team, Pep Guardiola has fielded two very different looking teams. He squeezed as many attackers as he could on the field opposite Hoffenheim, a formation that did not do a well enough job holding the ball. Then he put out a more conservative midfield setup against Manchester City, but his schemes changed after 27 minutes when Bayern went down to 10.

The only guarantee this week seems to be that Mario Götze and Thomas Müller – who sat midweek in favor of Sebastian Rode and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – will return to the starting XI. What team sheet Guardiola crafts is truly unpredictable, which makes it a headache for anyone who tries to assemble a team across from Bayern at the moment.

Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):

Robert Lewandowski

Franck Ribéry – Mario Götze – Thomas Müller

Xabi Alonso – Sebastian Rode

Juan Bernat – Jérôme BoatengMehdi Benatia – Rafinha

Manuel Neuer

Bench: Leopold Zingerle, Dante, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Gianluca Gaudino, Arjen Robben, Xherdan Shaqiri

Out/Suspended: David Alaba (knee), Thiago Alcantara (knee), Holger Badstuber (thigh), Philipp Lahm (ankle), Javi Martínez (knee), Pepe Reina (calf), Tom Starke (ankle)

The Opponent

Hertha BSC is chugging along even though some front office malfunction has nearly pushed them off the tracks. Bayern alumni and former Berlin managers Markus Babbel and Dieter Hoeneß recently came out and criticized some club officials, but whatever turmoil there is has not stopped the club from becoming a sneaky opponent

Currently 13th in the table, Hertha BSC is not securely locked in the middle of the pack quite yet. Jos Luhukay has extracted a lot out of a squad without much promise, tactically maneuvering his setup to get the results that his club needs. Their 2-1 win against promotion surprise Köln ended a table skid, but those results need to come more frequently being just three points above the relegation zone.

Most of Hertha BSC’s productivity comes through runs on the flanks, Änis Ben-Hatira and Roy Beerens two of the main catalysts in attack. The holding midfield is not very effective shielding a mediocre and inexperienced defense, but the combination has been unflappable enough to keep the team in matches.

An interesting wrinkle in Luhukay’s schemes is the possibility of a third centerback. It is a setup the Dutch manager deployed against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (although not very effectively), and kicker speculated that he could be considering another go with a five-back system. That would give newly acquired John Heitinga a spot with Jens Hegeler and John Anthony Brooks, a tactic that could better account for Bayern’s fluid attack.

Luhukay have given a lot of respect to his opponent this week with his words, reflecting the arduous task Hertha BSC will have on Saturday.

Projected Lineup (5-2-2-1):

Julian Schieber

Änis Ben-Hatira – Roy Beerens

Per Skjelbred – Hajime Hasogai

Nico Schulz – John Heitinga – Jens Hegeler – John Anthony Brooks – Nico Schulz

Thomas Kraft

Bench: Sascha Burchert, Marvin Plattenhardt, Christoph Jancker, Johannes van den Bergh, Peter Niemeyer, Ronny, Solomon Kalou

Out/Suspended: Sascha Burchert (muscle problems), Marius Gersbeck (knee), Sebastian Langkamp (ankle), Fabian Lustenberger (groin), Peter Pekarík (thigh), Alexander Baumjohann (knee), Tolga Cigerci (toe)

The Outcome

Whatever the team Guardiola deploys, the task for Hertha BSC is simply containment. Ben-Hatira and Beerens could give problems to Bayern on the counterattack, but the Rekordmeister has effectively defused breaks this season. Götze and Müller, who both work well in tight spaces, will find the wiggle room to get Bayern on the board, and that could unhinge the match in the German capital.

Projected Score: Hertha Berliner SC (0-3) Bayern Munich

The Other Action

Bundesliga

SC Freiburg vs. VfB Stuttgart (Friday, 2:30 ET)
FC Schalke 04 vs. Mainz 05 (Saturday, 9:30 ET)
Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. 1. FC Köln (Saturday, 9:30 ET)
Augsburg vs. Hamburger SV (Saturday, 9:30 ET)
SV Werder Bremen vs. SC Paderborn 07 (Saturday, 9:30 ET)
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs. Hannover 96 (Saturday, 12:30 ET)
VfL Wolfsburg vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach (Sunday, 9:30 ET)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Borussia Dortmund (Sunday, 9:30 ET)

Champions League Opponent

CSKA Moskva vs. Ufa (Saturday, 7:45 ET)

DFB-Pokal Opponent

Eintracht Braunschweig vs. 1. FC Nürnberg (Monday. 2:15 ET)

The Table

Team MP W D L F A GD Pts.
Bayern Munich 13 9 3 0 31 3 +28 30
VfL Wolfsburg 13 7 2 3 24 12 +12 23
Borussia Mönchengladbach 13 5 5 1 16 9 +7 20
Bayer Leverkusen 13 5 5 2 20 16 +4 20
Hannover 96 13 6 1 5 10 14 -4 19
Augsburg 13 6 0 6 15 12 +2 18
FC Schalke 04 13 5 2 5 17 17 0 17
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 13 4 5 3 17 18 +3 17
1. FSV Mainz 05 13 3 7 2 15 14 +1 16
SC Paderborn 07 13 4 4 4 18 18 0 16
1. FC Köln 13 4 3 5 12 13 -1 15
Eintracht Frankfurt 13 4 3 5 20 24 -4 15
Hertha Berliner SC 13 4 2 6 17 22 -5 14
SC Freiburg 13 2 6 4 13 16 -3 12
Hamburger SV 13 3 3 6 6 14 -10 12
Borussia Dortmund 13 3 2 7 14 19 -5 11
Werder Bremen 13 2 4 6 14 26 -12 10
VfB Stuttgart 13 2 3 7 14 26 -12 9

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