After clinching the Regionalliga Bayern title with their 2-0 win over FC Memmingen on Regionalliga Matchday 36, the inevitable question was who they would play in the playoff push for promotion to the 3.Liga.
Now, the answer is in, and the dates are set as Bayern Munich will first visit Regionalliga West champions Fortuna Köln at the Südstadion on May 28th, before the final leg of the tie at the Grünwald Stadion on June 1st. And €750,000 in TV revenue for the 3.Liga promoted club are on the line. I hear Bayern Munich could really use more money.
May 28th: Südstadion (19:00 CET/ 13:00 EST)
June 1st: Grünwald Stadion (14:00 CET/ 8:00 EST)
SC Fortuna Köln
Uwe Koschinat's SC Fortuna Köln are a dangerous team with a potent offense and a stellar defense. In many ways, they're exactly what you would expect from any Regionalliga championship side. Similar to Bayern Munich II, they have multiple attacking options that are capable of both creating and scoring goals. Logging 71 goals in 36 games, their most potent offensive weapons are their strikers Ercan Aydogmus and Thomas Kraus. While Fortuna Köln have most recently played in a 4-2-3-1, they have spent large swaths of the season 4-4-2 variations that utilize both strikers up top. Combined with their main offensive weapon on the left in Tobias Steffen, the trio has combined for 39 of the teams 71 goals while also logging 28 assists giving the impression that they're primarily a wing-based attacking team. That'll be a major concern for Bayern Munich II.
However, it's in defense where Fortuna Köln are weakest at the moment. After months of stalwart play, their centerback and captain, Daniel Flottmann ruptured a cruciate ligament at the beginning of May that sent the Regionalliga West champions into a late season tailspin. Over the last month, they drew two and lost one, before righting the ship in a 2-1 win over Düsseldorf II, shipping 7 goals over a 4 match span, as many as they conceeded in the 13 previous matches. Without Daniel Flottmann, the Köln based side have opted to use young 22-year-old Frederic Brill alongside 24-year-old Oliver Laux in the intervening matches. The youth of the two may be an exploitable hole for the Bayern Munich II side and more experienced strikers like Tobias Schweinsteiger.
Bayern Munich II
Lets just play game of list the missing Bayern Munich II talent. Julian Green, Mitchell Weiser, Pierre Hojbjerg. Bayern Munich's best and brightest young talents are not available for the reserve match.
The problems, potentially, start right at the back in goalkeeper. With Lukas Raeder's status a measure of some doubt as he may be uneligible for this match, and with Raif Husic away on youth international duty, the goalkeeping duties could fall to Leopold Zingerle who hasn't featured for Bayern Munich (senior or reserve) in a competitive match since December.
In defense, the combination of David Vrzgovic and Stefan Buck has been holding down the central defense for the last months while Ylli Sallahi and Dennis Chessa have split time at leftback, mostly due to the former's continued appearances with the senior side while Benno Schmitz has spent the entire season as the rightback stalwart for Erik ten Hag's side.
It's upfront that we should expect the most uncertainty. Austrian U21 Alessandro Schöpf should be a nearly certain lock in central midfield supported by Rico Streider in holding midfield and Tobias Schweinsteiger playing as a support striker. The wings recently have been manned by Patrick Weihrauch and Vladimir Rankovic, while Kevin Friesenbichler has been a goal scoring threat down the stretch for the Bayern Munich reserves. An option for Erik ten Hag given that the first match of the tie is played away at the Südstadion is deploying recent U19 promotee, Angelos Oikonomou alongside Rico Streider in a double pivot, as ten Hag has done recently.
Final Aggregate Score Predictions: Bayern Munich II 4 - 2 SC Fortuna Köln