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Bayern Munich vs. Augsburg, German Cup preview

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Ancelotti plans to make a good amount of changes in the cup, but that could be a dangerous strategy.

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

The second round of the German Cup has been a breeze for Bayern since the turn of the century. The last time they lost in the second round was in 2000 against Magdeburg, who needed penalties to knock Ottmar Hitzfeld’s team out of the competition.

But this second round clash against Augsburg comes at a strange time for the league champions. Bayern have only recently rediscovered their mojo and are in uncomfortable races in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. They have played three more games than Augsburg and, with almost twice as many internationals as their opponents, many of Bayern’s players have not gotten much of a break.

Carlo Ancelotti has managed some tired legs with a heavy rotation policy. Manuel Neuer is the only player who Ancelotti has only benched once this season. It is a strategy the first-year Bayern coach will likely utilize on Wednesday, giving more squad players a chance to play.

“We have a good squad and know that we are in a position to beat every team,” said Neuer in Bayern’s press conference on Tuesday. “Now when five players are missing, then the other players need to adjust.”

Ancelotti has already committed to making a few adjustments, confirming Douglas Costa and Arjen Robben will get a breather. Their absence may open the door for Julian Green, who had a strong preseason up top for Bayern, to get his first start of the season. But making too many changes has already been a problem in the past, and it would be risky to do so again against a Bundesliga team in the Cup.

Augsburg are not heavy hitters in the league this season, but they are no slouches either. Dirk Schuster’s have gotten results against Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke, but have struggled in the final third. They are in a bit of an injury crisis as well, with several attackers injured and their defensive depth thin.

Bayern cannot be too careless against Augsburg as they have scored several goals against the run of play. But Ancelotti, who has been known to give squad players a chance early in the Cup, can use the win-or-go-home game to get the best out of some of his young players.

This match-up will be the first of two straight fixtures against Augsburg this week, but the match on Wednesday is obviously the one where Bayern need to bring their best performance.

Prediction: 2-0 Bayern win. Dirk Schuster teams are always very organized, and if Ancelotti does make a lot of changes, Bayern will struggle to hit the ground running. But Augsburg do not transition well from defense to attack, one of the reasons why they have scored just seven goals in the Bundesliga this season. If Bayern can replicate the pressure they put Gladbach under with different characters, the third round of the cup will only be 90 minutes away.

Bayern Munich out and suspended: Rafinha (groin), Franck Ribery (muscle tear)

Augsburg out and suspended: Raul Bobadilla (shoulder), Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (shin), Caiuby (knee), Alfred Finnbogasson (groin), Marvin Friedrich (groin), Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (lung)

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