Ingolstadt have only been in the Bundesliga for a season and a half, but they have become Bayern Munich's fiercest Bavarian rival. Even after Ralph Hasenhüttl parted the club for Leipzig, Ingolstadt have found a way to irritate the defending league champions.
Bayern may be looking for a confidence boost before they resume their Champions League schedule, and they didn't get one in the Cup in midweek. Here are somethings to watch for in Bayern's trip to Ingolstadt.
Thiago and Thomas Müller playing together?
If we are to take Ancelotti at his word and believe he is going to field his best players, that would mean Thiago and Müller would both start, right? Well, they have started together in just over half of Bayern’s games this season, which may indicate that Ancelotti has not found an effective way to play them together the same way Pep Guardiola did. Both could have very important functions against a deep-lying Ingolstadt team – Thiago in possession and Müller in attack – but whether both functions will work well together is yet to be seen.
How Bayern’s attack flows
Against Wolfsburg, Bayern had a lot of trouble switching the play, which required them to settle for combinations on the wing before putting in service into the penalty area. They may have similar struggles against Ingolstadt, but the quality of players the club has at their disposal is not of the same quality as Wolfsburg. Bayern's play was significantly better when Thiago is on the field, and if he is able to effectively change the angles of attack, more scoring chances may come for Bayern than they have in 2017.
If Robert Lewandowski can get some good scoring chances
He may have thought he had it hard against Wolfsburg, but it may be even more difficult against a resurgent Ingolstadt team. They don't have many of the defensive stars they had last year, but they still have three strong, physical center backs that make it difficult for any striker to score. Lewandowski may (hopefully) have his strike partner back to take some of the attention away, but even if Müller returns to the side, he may have a difficult time getting on the end of chances.
Whether Walpurgis makes an impact
New Ingolstadt coach Maik Walpurgis has gotten three wins in six games while in charge of Ingolstadt. He seems to have a lot of confidence in his side's match on Saturday, saying that his team has no reason to be afraid of Bayern. Even under previous manager Markus Kauczinski, Ingolstadt had a decent chance to take points of off the defending champions. Walpurgis beat Leipzig at home, so Bayern may have a tough time getting all three points.
Will Joshua Kimmich have a role to play?
Kimmich has received just one start in 2017, and that only came when Arturo Vidal and Thiago were injured. He did get a solid run in at the beginning of the season even with both of those stud midfielders healthy. Xabi Alonso has started every game for Bayern in 2017, and if Ancelotti reverts back to his comfortable 4-3-3 formation, Kimmich could finally get another chance.