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Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg, Bundesliga: Fixture, TV Schedule, and Match Preview

Early season clash presents unique opportunity for both parties.

Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Over the past decade, Wolfsburg has presented Bayern with a decent challenge, even winning the title when they burst onto the scene. Bayern now have another legitimate Bundesliga rival, and the second- and third-best teams in Germany will clash on Tuesday in what many are calling an early Spitzenspiel.

The two met a month and a half ago, and now both seem to be completely different teams. Bayern have reshaped their defensive approach, manager Pep Guardiola pushing numbers higher up the field. Conversely, Wolfsburg manager is doing his best to keep the status quo, substituting record-departure Kevin De Bruyne with record-arrival Julian Draxler.

Both clubs won in the Champions League a week ago, and each will present the other with a challenge only a Spitzenspiel can bring. This match will only be a precursor of course, for the two will match up again in the second round of the German Cup. With Dortmund setting a brisk early pace, both Bayern and Wolfsburg will want to come away with all three points in order to stay in Bundesliga contention.

The Match (42nd Meeting)

Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Referees
Head: Tobias Stieler
FC Bayern: 8 W, 0 D, 0 L – 10 YC, 1 Y/R

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Television and Streaming:
US: Fox Sports 1 | HD, GolTV, Fox Sports GO, Fox Soccer 2Go
Canada: Local Sportsnet affiliates, Sportsnet World Now
UK: BT Sport 2
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 1 & 2 | HD, Sky Go, TeleClub Sport Live
Other Countries

The Fixture

Form

FC Bayern: WWWWW
Opponent: WWDWD

Records

Bundesliga: 28 W, 4 D, 4 L
DFB Pokal: 4 W, 0 D, 0 L
DFL Supercup: 0 W, 0 D, 1 L

Largest Victory: 6-1 (Bundesliga: March 8, 2014, Wolfsburg; DFB-Pokal: April 16, 2013, Munich)
Largest Defeat: 1-5 (Bundesliga: April 4, 2009, Wolfsburg)

The Squad

Guardiola was able to present Bayern's strength in depth over the weekend, revealing that even Kingsley Coman, Joshua Kimmich, and Sebastian Rode can be top players at the highest level. With the squad rotation, Guardiola can redeploy his best weapons with no restraint.

Well... maybe some restraint, with Robert Lewandowski sitting at the weekend with an ankle injury. Even if Poland's pride and joy were unavailable for selection, Mario Götze's return gives Bayern a similarly strong presence in attack, and Thomas Muller's added gusto will give Bayern even more punch than Saturday.

The defense has been Guardiola's best canvas to display his creativity this season, and Wolfsburg presents him another fascinating challenge at the back. On the one hand, Hecking's use of two forwards could allow Guardiola to counter with just three defender, paving the way for another diamond defense. By the same token, the gaffer will want Juan Bernat to keep a closer eye on a player like Draxler, even if the young German does like to cut inside.

Depending how Wolfsburg's midfield shapes up, Bayern could once again dictate the tempo of the match in midfield, and David Alaba presents Guardiola with a great piece to handle the counterattack. In front of the Allianz Arena crowd, Bayern will not want to let this early six-point opportunity to slip away.

Projected Lineup (4-3-3):

Douglas Costa – Robert Lewandowski – Thomas Müller

Thiago Alcântara

Xabi AlonsoArturo Vidal

Juan Bernat – David Alaba – Jérôme BoatengPhilipp Lahm

Manuel Neuer

Bench: Sven Ulreich, Javi Martínez, Rafinha, Sebastian Rode, Joshua Kimmich, Kingsley Coman, Mario Götze

Out/Suspended: Holger Badstuber (thigh), Medhi Benatia (thigh), Jan Kirchhoff (ankle), Franck Ribéry (ankle), Arjen Robben (muscle injury)

The Opponent

If any team were equipped to handle the loss of their best player, it would probably Wolfsburg. Why? The foundation Klaus Allofs has provided Hecking with is rather phenomenal.

Now with Dante, Luiz Gustavo, and Naldo, Hecking may have the best defense in the Bundesliga. That is the bedrock on which Wolfsburg can build their campaign. Acquiring Draxler is certainly nice, but nobody is going to get by the bouncers in midfield Joshua Guilavogui and Luis Gustavo are.

Where the departure of De Bruyne is most prevalent is in the buildup play, for he was by far Wolfsburg's most creative player. For that reason alone, Hecking may consider playing Maximilian Arnold, a box-to-box player that has torched Bayern in each of the last two seasons. He will complement Max Kruse and Bast Dost in attack well, while a combination of Draxler, Daniel Caligiuri, and André Schürrle can help on the peripheries of the penalty area.

Wolfsburg are best when they face teams with a direct approach, and that is likely the one Bayern will see on Tuesday.

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

Bas Dost

Daniel Caligiuri – Max Kruse – Julian Draxler

Joshua Guilavogui – Luiz Gustavo

Ricardo Rodriguez – Dante – Naldo – Christian Träsch

Diego Benaglio

Bench: Max Grün, Sebastian Jung, Timm Klose, Marcel Schäfer, Maximilian Arnold, André Schürrle, Niklas Bendtner

Out/Suspended:

The Outcome

Anyone who thinks they already know how this match will play out is probably arrogant or full of hot air. The biggest thing to watch is how well the structural integrity of Wolfsburg defense holds up. If Bayern are able to stretch the play and start to pull Dante and Naldo out of position, that will be enough of an avenue for someone to punish Wolfsburg in the penalty area. If Bayern do not have a lapse of concentration in defense, they have the firepower to take down Wolfsburg again at home.

Projected Score: Bayern Munich (1-0) Wolfsburg

The Other Action

Bundesliga

Hertha Berlin vs. Köln (Tuesday, 2:00 PM ET)
FC Ingolstadt 04 vs. Hamburger SV (Tuesday, 2:00 PM ET)
SV Darmstadt 98 vs. Werder Bremen (Tuesday, 2:00 PM ET)
Schalke 04 vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (Wednesday, 2:00 PM ET)
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Mainz 05 (Wednesday, 2:00 PM ET)
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Augsburg (Wednesday, 2:00 PM ET)
Hannover vs. Stuttgart (Wednesday, 2:00 PM ET)
Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Dortmund (Wednesday, 2:00 PM ET)

The Table

Team W D L F A GD Pts.
Borussia Dortmund 5 0 0 18 3 +15 15
Bayern Munich 5 0 0 15 2 +13 15
VfL Wolfsburg 3 2 0 8 2 +6 11
FC Schalke 04 3 1 1 7 5 +2 10
1. FC Köln 3 1 1 9 9 0 10
FC Ingolstadt 04 3 1 1 3 4 -1 10
1. FSV Mainz 05 3 0 2 9 5 +4 9
Eintracht Frankfurt 2 2 1 12 6 +6 8
SV Werder Bremen 2 1 2 6 7 -1 7
Hamburger SV 2 1 2 7 9 -2 7
Hertha Berliner SC 2 1 2 5 7 -2 7
SV Darmstadt 98 1 3 1 4 6 -2 6
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2 0 3 3 8 -5 6
FC Augsburg 1 1 3 4 5 -1 4
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 0 1 4 4 10 -6 1
Hannover 96 0 1 4 4 12 -8 1
VfB Stuttgart 0 0 5 5 13 -8 0
Borussia Mönchengaldbach 0 0 5 2 12 -10 0

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