Bayern Munich’s break from the Bundesliga could not come at a better time. After embarrassing RB Leipzig before the winter break, they have struggled with mid-table Bundesliga teams. The defending double champions need a big result to get their season back on track, and after scoring 11 goals in the last two meetings with Wolfsburg in Allianz Arena, that result may very well come in their third round game in the DFB Pokal.
Here is what to watch for in Bayern’s German Cup game against Wolfsburg.
If Wolfsburg has early success
What has become clear in 2017 is that teams are less afraid of going up against Bayern than they have been recently. Wolfsburg have not performed well this season, but after revamping their attack in the January window, they look to have improved in the attacking third (relative to their previous putrid form). If they can get things done early in the game, it may be tough for Bayern to find an answer.
The impact of Thiago’s return
Ancelotti revealed in his press conference on Monday that Thiago will start on Tuesday despite not playing over the weekend. Bayern certainly have missed his playmaking skills in midfield, registering 13 shots or less after firing away 15 shots or more in four of the five games before his injury. Having him back in the team could bring a little more initiative back into a stagnant midfield build-up.
How David Alaba holds up as a center back
After sitting against Schalke, Alaba could very well play in his normal left back position. But considering Ancelotti deployed the Austrian star centrally the last time Wolfsburg came to town, it is not out of the question that he does so again. Hummels and Martinez have had to go the distance in every game Bayern has played in 2017, and Ancelotti may want to use the Cup to rest one of them. Alaba may be the better choice in central defense anyways since he has the agility to disrupt the likes of Malli and Ntep.
Lewandowski: wolf slayer
How did he follow up his world record performance against Wolfsburg in Munich? Two more goals in December, making that seven goals in two games. With three goals in three games in 2017, Lewandowski has maintained the form of his life. There is a chance that he does not play, with Julian Green and Thomas Müller starting in attack against Augsburg, but if he does, him scoring is becoming almost a certainty.