Bayern Munich has returned to its juggernaut form, while VfB Stuttgart is banged up and struggling to retain a spot in the first division for next season. Simply put, this is bad timing for Die Schwaben to take the pitch at the Allianz Arena.
Stuttgart has lost seven of their nine Bundesliga away games (one win, one draw) and was shutout in six of those games. Meanwhile, Bayern is undefeated in its last seven Bundesliga games (six wins, one draw) and looks like it has found its stride under Niko Kovac.
One “x-factor” in the game will be how Niko Kovac decides to handle James Rodriguez. The Colombian show up late to training yesterday, which was just the latest issue that the former Real Madrid man has found himself involved in since last summer. Regardless, if Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, and Leon Goretzka keep performing to the standard they have been of late, James might not need to be late to earn a permanent seat on pine. How Kovac deals with James today will certainly be interesting to see. We already know he’s not starting, but will Kovac use him off the bench?
In addition, Benjamin Pavard is not taking the field against his future club, as the injured Frenchman will have to wait until summer to hit the pitch in Munich (or possibly sooner if Brazzo get his way?).
It likely wouldn’t matter either way, though. Expect a big game from the attack featuring Robert Lewandowski and friends.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 4, VfB Stuttgart 0
A report out of London states that both Bayern and Real Madrid would okay with James Rodriguez spending the rest of the season in the Premier League, but the logistics of making happen are a bit too daunting.
There have been some talks over a potential move for Rodriguez, but it is highly unlikely anything will happen before deadline day. The forward is on loan at Bayern from Real Madrid and any deal would be very complicated to make happen.
Both Bayern and Real would be open to the 27-year-old spending the second half of the season in the Premier League, but he would prefer to return to the Bernabeu should he cut short his loan spell in Germany.
Per Bleacher Report, James won’t be so eager to return to Madrid should Jose Mourinho take the helm, however.
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon says he doesn’t think James Rodriguez has a future at the Santiago Bernabeu if Jose Mourinho returns to their helm in the summer. Calderon spoke to Bild (h/t Jose Carlos Menzel of AS) and gave short shrift to the chances of Mourinho linking up with Rodriguez if he did move back to Madrid: “There’ll be a lot of changes [at Madrid] this summer. There are many rumours about Jose Mourinho being re-appointed, and if that happens I don’t think James will o back.”
Given his repeated issues this season, it could be assumed that the Colombian star is either already set on bolting Bavaria after the season or not entirely sure what he wants to do. Publicly, neither James, not Bayern will ever say anything negative...both are far too PR savvy.
It’s always tough to learn about a rumor after its already really no longer a rumor. This was the first we had heard of Bayern’s “stealth” interest in Atalanta defender Gianluca Mancini, but it looks like he’s headed to AS Roma.
There is an initial agreement for Roma to sign Atalanta defender Gianluca Mancini for €25m, it’s reported, but not before the summer. Atalanta Coach Gian Piero Gasperini confirmed to Tuttosport that Roma “are the club that have shown the most interest in signing Mancini, but they are not the only ones, as there are also sides in Italy and abroad.” These are believed to include Inter, Everton, Bayern Munich, Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Bayern Munich youth player Ryan Johansson has decided to play internationally for Ireland. Johansson also had the opportunity to play for Sweden and Luxembourg because of unique lineage and background.
Johansson’s decision is also sure to be welcomed by U21 manager Stephen Kenny as he faces into the qualifiers for Euro ‘21 and next summer’s Toulon Tournament. ”Ryan is very happy to have pledged his international future to Ireland. He really enjoyed his time in Tom Mohan’s underage squads,” Johansson’s mother Christine told Independent.ie.
Johansson qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents with Christine’s mother and father hailing from Clare and Westmeath respectively. ”Our summers and Easter holidays growing up were always spent in Ireland,” Christine continued. ”We have great memories and Ryan is really looking forward to continuing to represent the country at international level.”