Round we go again! Bayern Munich take on Augsburg for the second time this week, the first time they have played a team in consecutive games in six years. With the way they played in the German Cup, the defending league champions can probably feel pretty good going into the “Bundesliga leg” of their back-to-back.
But unlike past seasons, this Bavarian derby is not one where Bayern can afford a slip-up. Having won just one of their last three Bundesliga matches, Bayern have allowed Leipzig and Hertha Berlin to get back within two and three points respectively in the table.
“Leipzig has started the season very well,” said Carlo Ancelotti in Bayern’s press conference on Friday. “I think they have earned the position they are at the moment. They are the biggest competition for us right now.”
Though they started the season with five consecutive wins, Bayern have not seemed as dominant in the league as they were under Pep Guardiola. Those teams could get away with dropping points because they were less prone to slip-ups than their main competitors for the title. This team does not have that luxury with unbeaten teams hot on their tail.
That said, a trip to Augsburg is not likely to be as jarring as one to Frankfurt or Berlin. Augsburg have kept one clean sheet at home all season and have not scored more than once in their home arena. Philipp Lahm and Julian Green were able to score on Augsburg's defense in midweek, so who knows what will happen when Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski come back into the fold.
Bayern have been no match for Augsburg when picking up points becomes a necessity. They have lost just twice to their Bavarian neighbors ever, and those two defeats came when Bayern already had a grasp on the Bundesliga title. There may be a bit of a drop-off like in midweek with a big Champions League tie on the horizon, but Ancelotti’s men would be remiss if they didn’t pick up the three points.
Prediction: 3-0 Bayern win. Ji Dong-Won was able to fire off a goal using his quick feat and excellent finishing skills. But that was the only time an Augsburg player had the upper hand in midweek. Ancelotti expects them to sit deep and counter like most teams do, but that will not help them keep up with an even stronger Bayern team.
Bayern Munich players out and suspended: Rafinha (groin), Franck Ribery (muscle tear)
Augsburg players out and suspended: Raul Bobadilla (shoulder), Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (shin), Caiuby (knee), Alfred Finnbogasson (groin), Marvin Friedrich (groin), Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (lung)
Television and Streaming:
US: Fox Sports 2, GolTV, GolTV Español, Fox Sports GO, Fox Soccer 2Go
Canada: Sportsnet World Now
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 3, Sky Go, TeleClub Sport Live