Just in case you did not know, these are two teams that have met before.
FC Bayern München has done battle with Nürnberg more times than it has played any other club. First meeting in 1908 in the Süddeutsche Meisterschaft, the two Bavarian Clubs have matched up throughout the development of the German football structure, from district leagues to regional leagues to country cups to the eventual country top tier championship.
This is the real heavyweight bout of southeast Germany, even though it may not seem so.
FC Bayern now look to record their 44 consecutive unbeaten result, while Nürnberg hope to continue the five-match unbeaten run long enough to avoid relegation.
The Match (188th meeting)
Location: Grundig-Stadion, Nürnberg, Germany
Head: Tobias Welz
FC Bayern: 5 W, 1 D, 0 L – 3 YC
Assistants: Rafael Foltyn, Martin Thomsen
Fourth Official: Marco Fritz
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Television and Streaming
US: GolTV USA
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 1 | HD, Sky Go
FC Bayern: WWWWW
Bundesliga: 36 W, 12 D, 11 L
DFB Pokal: 6 W, 1 L
1. Franz Brungs, FCN – 9
2. Gerhard "Gerd" Müller, FCB – 7
3. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, FCB – 6
4. Michael Ballack, FCB; Mario Gómez, FCB; Roy Makaay, FCB – 5
Biggest Victory: 5-0 (May 3, 1994, Munich, Germany)
Biggest Defeat: 3-7 (December 2, 1967, Nürnberg, Germany)
Considering how many parts are faulty and missing, it is incredible how far FC Bayern have driven this campaign. Now it is worth asking: will all the parts ever be working well at the same time?
Many have raised the point that Pep Guardiola has not had a whole compliment during his tenure. There seems a universal law hanging over the squad depth, and when one player gets fit, another gets injured. The fact is that Guardiola needs every piece of the roster, one arguably deeper in quality than any team on the globe, and no player is or should feel left out.
Franck Ribéry is the latest victim of the injury bug, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, while returning to team activities, will likely not be fit enough for a squad selection. Xherdan Shaqiri has started every match of the Rückrunde with Ribéry and Arjen Robben's absences from the lineup, but a looming Robben return might restore the Swiss international to the bench.
The top of the formation is still a focus, for Mario Götze, Mario Mandzukic, and Thomas Müller have all started up top in FC Bayern's three matches. With how mediocre Nürnberg's current defense is on areal service, Mandžukić can exploit the match-up the best, although Guardiola does not always put his team selections in those terms. With the return of Robben, all three of these players will not take the field at the same time.
With the longest rest before a match since August, Guardiola can get a little more creative with his starting XI.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1):
Robben – Kroos – Thiago – Müller
Alaba – Dante – Boateng – Rafinha
Bench: Starke, Contento, van Buyten, Martínez, Shaqiri, Götze, Pizarro
Seemingly stuck in a constant relegation battle, has turned into the cockroach of the Bundesliga. They may look ugly when they play, but there does not seem to be away to kill their Bundesliga lives.
After going the entire Hinrunde without a victory, Nürnberg has restarted its season with a bang. The club wiped the floor with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim before traveling to Berlin and winning convincingly. Josip Drmic scored four goals in those two matches, prompting Shaqiri to call him "a crucial support in the Nürnberg team."
What is most impressive is how the defense has not skipped a beat despite the absence of Emanuel Pogatetz, one of the club's best defenders. Javier Pinola have both stepped in and, while not always pretty, and Nürnberg have only conceded one goal in the Rückrunde. Now with Per Nilsson is out, Ondrej Petrák will move once again from midfield to fill in. Facing the constant barrage of Bayern is a different scenario, and the midfield will likely have to help out much more than it has the last two matches.
This is a match where Gertjan Verbeek is going to throw everything he has, telling the Nürnberg website: "We are Nürnberg and we’ll do it our way. I think that the chance is there, even if it’s a small one." That also means Mike Frantz, Timothy Chandler and Markus Feulner will not hold anything back despite facing yellow card suspensions.
Nürnberg will keep pushing, trying to extend this positive spell as long as possible.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Hiousek – Kiyotake – Drmic
Feulner – Frantz
Plattenhardt – Pinola – Petrák – Chandler
Bench: Rakovsky, Angha, Pekhart, Mak, Gebhart, Dabanli, Gärtner
While great that Nürnberg's form is high, the way the club plays is not the right way to come up against FC Bayern. The midfield is always wide open with Verbeek's attacking style, and no team occupies midfield vacancies better than the Rekordmeisters. The winning streak will come to an end, although Nürnberg is going to do everything to level the playing field.
Projected Score: 1. FC Nürnberg 1-4 FC Bayern München
- Franck Ribery undergoes surgery, out for the immediate future
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- Report: Arjen Robben is close to extending his contract
- Erik ten Hag working to get FC Bayern II back to winning ways and promotion
- Bayern Munich are lining up to collect their 24th Bundesliga trophy in record time...again