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Weekend Warm-up: The teetering balance of power for Bayern Munich; Bundesliga predictions; and MORE!

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Another Bundesliga weekend is here and Bayern Munich is looking for a little revenge on Hoffenheim.

FC Bayern Muenchen Party - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by M. Donato/Getty Images for FC Bayern

Over this week, we were graced with numerous reports detailing how there are disagreements on how players are evaluated within the front office at Bayern Munich. Specifically, we heard that manager Hansi Flick and sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic are at odds.

With Bild’s initial report, the early reactions fell into two buckets:

  • Meh, it’s normal business
  • Uh oh, let’s maybe give our treble-winning manager some say

There was not much in-between.

BFW offered our own take on this — and you know where I fell on the subject (yup, this is now me):

Sport1’s Florian Plettenberg capped off the cycle by acknowledging the issue, but insisted that Flick is not so bothered that he will resign.

Now that you’ve inhaled that CliffsNotes version of “FC Hollywood Story of the Week,” the issue of determining the proper balance remains. Undoubtedly, both Salihamidzic and Flick have their qualities and, surely, both have been successful and unsuccessful with their respective player evaluations during their careers.

When two individuals with big egos, high standards, and bullish attitudes clash, however, it indicates that the issue may need closer examination. Flick has made it clear with his squad selection that some of Bayern Munich’s biggest acquisitions are not currently meeting his standards (Leroy Sane, Lucas Hernandez) and some of the less important moves (Marc Roca, Bouna Sarr, Douglas Costa) aren’t even of the requisite quality to earn a sniff of playing time on a regular basis.

As Plettenberg pointed out in the case of Hernandez, this has caused some people in the front office to raise their eyebrows a bit. Bayern Munich does not like spending big money — and the Bavarians assuredly do not like those expensive acquisitions languishing on the bench.

Clearly, there has to be better alignment. And before you say, “So what, most of those players are ‘less important’ and don’t matter anyway,” just remember that for every player that Flick can’t trust his bench, the more he has to use his regulars — which is a big issue with this season’s condensed schedule.

I think the boys need an intervention and it should probably go down a little something like this:

Brazzo: “Hallo Hansi. I am sorry we disagree so much, but it is hard being right all the time like I am. Who do you think brought you Ivan Perisic last season? I do like your navy-blue golf shirts, though.”

Flick: “Danke schön, Brazzo. I admire your ability to grow a really — and I mean really — cool beard. I appreciate your apologizing, but if you keep expecting me to make chicken salad out of chicken s—”

(Brawl erupts)

Okay, so maybe an intervention isn’t the best method. Regardless, I hope that the Bavarians huddle at the beginning of the next transfer window and take Flick’s opinion more into account.

Like any great manager, Flick has an intricately designed system that requires specific skill-sets for each role and I don’t think the Bayern Munich front office fully respects that just yet. Coaches aren’t miracle workers; they can’t just take ill-fitting pieces and make them work.

And I don’t think Flick is just a good manager; I think he’s a fantastic coach. Bayern Munich should recognize that and work with him a little closer. Flick does not need all the “say” or even the final “say,” but he needs to have more of a “say.”


Gaming the system

One of the movies I always find myself stopping on when late-night channel surfing is War Dogs.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Conversations With “War Dogs”
Jonah Hill played a leading role in the movie War Dogs.
Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

The 2016 film is not considered great cinema by any means, but it is based on a pretty fascinating true story. I’d personally rate the move as “good”, but I’m weird, so that probably means nothing. Anyway, there were a lot of liberties taken with making the subject matter more exciting, but the Miles Teller and Jonah Hill-fueled flick tells a tale of two seemingly regular guys who found a way to beat the system with a little ingenuity, a lot of effort, and a whole lot of deception. The feature by Rolling Stone is incredibly interesting and there have since been multiple books and features dedicated to telling this embarrassing tale for the United States government.

As someone who has roughly 20 years of experience in a similar line of work (sorry, not gun-running or massage therapy), I was fascinated by how the two men found a way to get over on the United States government and effectively game the federal procurement system for their own benefit. Ultimately, of course, they are foiled by their own sloppy mistakes, but the theme of normal people gaming the system became relevant again this week when a bunch or “normal” Redditors rallied to take down a hedge fund or two.

If you have been living under a rock for the past few days, you might have missed the story that has shaken Wall Street in a big way. If you have been keeping tabs on it, you have been following a fascinating journey of people rising up against a powerful machine — and somehow winning (at least so far).

At some point, there will be a documentary on this “Game Stop” journey and if done, correctly, will probably be equally parts information, entertaining, funny, and scary — and I, for one, am already looking forward to it.


Predictions

Ah...the good, old revenge game. A betting staple if there ever was one. A lot has changed, however, since the last time these two teams met.

Sure, Bayern Munich was flogged by Hoffenheim in a game featured a disjointed, lethargic, and frankly tired effort from the Bavarians last time around, but this should feature a much different outcome.

For once, Hansi Flick’s boys got a bit of rest as the manager granted them two days off following a “three-game” week and the fresh legs should make an enormous difference. Let’s take a look at some game facts:

Bayern Munich is unbeaten in its last 24 games at the Allianz Arena (21 wins, three draws).

The Bavarians have won four of their last five Bundesliga matches.

Hoffenheim has won two games in a row and are unbeaten in three straight fixtures. In all three games, TSG1899 has kept a clean sheet.

It would appear on the surface that Hoffenheim is entering this match ready to at least give Bayern Munich a fight. The Bavarians, however, have been much better of late and shook off a mini-slump to get back on the right track.

I’d say this will be another match where Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller dictate the game from an offensive standpoint and think with each passing game that Bayern Munich’s defense gets a little more comfortable and situationally aware with regard to its backline positioning.

The absence of Leon Goretzka could be tough to overcome, though. Corentin Tolisso is not 100% and Javi Martinez is also out. Could it be time to see Marc Roca or will Flick opt to use Jamal Musiala in a deeper role?

Let’s call this a nice Bayern Munich win and little bit of revenge against Sebastian Hoeneß and his squad — even if it won’t necessarily easy.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Hoffenheim

Now on to our guest predictor:

Fergus25: While Hoffenheim went on a very long rough patch after their brilliant 4-1 put down of Bayern in October, Sebastian Hoeness’ side has now had two consecutive strong performances. The team will again look to play over the top balls in behind Bayern’s high line and you just can’t help but think they will score against a Bayern defense which hardly can keep a clean sheet.

Nevertheless, Bayern has also recently bounced back from a slump, playing slightly more conservatively while retaining their offensive threat, they should score a couple although will be without the unsung hero and midfield general that is Goretzka which will cause for a potential lack of midfield superiority.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-2 Hoffenheim

Other Bundesliga matches include (gulp!):

Stuttgart 2-1 Mainz 05

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 FC Augsburg

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Hertha Berlin

Union Berlin 2-3 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Werder Bremen 2-1 Schalke 04

RB Leipzig 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen

FC Köln 2-1 Arminia Bielefeld

Wolfsburg 3-2 SC Freiburg


Prediction Records

I wrote last week about not having a feel for things and knowing that I had “no feel” was just about the only thing I knew, ya know?

Again, without the luxury of being able to take a week off, I’ll trudge through again. This is — by far — one of my worst slides ever (which is saying a lot).

There is still time for me to get back on the winning track and walk away over .500 for the season, but I need to start getting that vision back.

You know that vision, right? When just about every game seems soooooo clear and you just know you’ll be right. It’s been a while since I’ve had that...let’s hope this is the week that kick starts me back up (or you can continue to laugh at my failures!).

Last Bundesliga match day record: 4-5

Overall record: 81-88*

Guest predictors’ record: 19-4

(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)