A busy two weeks for Bayern will come to an end this weekend when they travel to Germany’s capital to take on Hertha Berlin. They are coming off one of their best performances of the season: a 5-1 victory over Arsenal in which they scored four goals in the first half.
Here’s what to watch for in Bayern’s game against Hertha Berlin.
How much confidence Bayern takes from midweek
The players got out of a pretty big scoring funk in the second half against Arsenal, but now they have to take that momentum with them into the Bundesliga. Only one league game in 2017 has been a multi-goal victory, which may not matter in the table but is not the kind of football Bayern usually plays in midweek. Hertha Berlin is a tough team – even though Bayern beat them 3-0 in September – and Bayern have yet to put together a run of good performances this season.
The pace of play
A big criticism of Bayern this season is the pace in which they move the ball. That did not seem to be a problem against Arsenal, but it has manifested a lot in the Bundesliga. Hertha Berlin are sluggish with the ball too; it makes them a little bland to watch, but it is a conservative Pal Dardai tactic that has made Hertha Berlin more sustainable. The pace of the game may make this fixture a real snooze fest, but Bayern may want to ramp up the tempo after the way they played in midweek.
What Thomas Müller can do after two solid appearances
Though still goalless, Müller put in a strong performance against Ingolstadt, and followed that up with a goal off the bench against Arsenal. He will likely return to the line-up against Hertha after starting on the bench in midweek. Many have been waiting for Müller to turn the corner, and if he has another strong showing in Berlin, some may believe he is beginning to.
How ambitious Hertha are
Bayern tends to struggle against teams that go after them at the point of attack. Hertha Berlin does not tend to be one of those teams, relying on a rock-solid spine to keep opponents from scoring. But their defense has looked more frail in recent weeks, which has caused them to win four of their last five games. That said, all of Hertha’s losses in 2017 have been away from home, and maybe their bravery will come into play against the defending champions in front of their home fans.
Does a young midfielder finally get a chance?
Joshua Kimmich and Renato Sanches have been almost nonexistent in 2017, Ancelotti instead sticking with his veterans in January and February. But both young midfielders did get their chance in the Bundesliga earlier in the season after a Champions League fixture. Xabi Alonso has also started all six games in the new year and maybe needs a rest. Kimmich is the more likely of the two to get some minutes, but maybe Renato Sanches will finally get the playing time he so desperately needs.