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Weekend Warm-up: Bayern Munich’s rotation to be tested; Celebrating Tom Petty’s birthday; Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal predictions; and MORE!

It’s time for the weekend ... are you ready?

SL Benfica v Bayern Muenchen: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Paulo Nascimento/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s roster is deep and talented — and now it will be tested.

During this stretch of seven games in 18 days, the Bavarians are going to need to rely on more than just their top XI to get through this in one piece.

Alphonso Davies is already banged up, but this stretch will be a good a time as any to lean on some players, who have a lot to prove:

  • Benjamin Pavard: Pavard, of course, has found himself in the crosshairs of fans and then doubled-down on his current status by pleading his case to the media. It is honestly unclear right now if the Frenchman is the starting right-back any longer or if the club has unofficially shifted the role to Niklas Süle, but Pavard has something to prove and should get ample opportunity to do it.
  • Jamal Musiala: Able to play on the wing, as an attacking midfielder, or deeper in the central midfield, Musiala can spell players at a number of positions. Moreover, Musiala needs to get more time on the pitch for his own development. Hopefully this stretch of games provides him with that.
  • Marcel Sabitzer: The Austrian got his first start at Bayern Munich against Benfica and did fairly well. Still, he does not seem completely comfortable. Another player who can fill in at multiple positions, it seems like Bayern Munich needs to invest more playing time into Sabitzer, who could become disengaged after being the “Alpha” for so long with RB Leipzig. Not to beat a dead horse, but Joshua Kimmich needs a rest, too.
  • Kingsley Coman: The Frenchman is getting back into the swing of things and looked dynamic against Benfica on Wednesday. While still brittle, this run of games will give the winger a chance to regain his legs and offer enough games where he can be rested as well.
  • Josip Stanisic: The young Croatian has proven to be a versatile and capable player, who can provide a depth option at either outside-back position, center-back, or in the defensive midfield. Getting anyone along the back-line even 25 minutes rest at the end of a match could be huge.

The Bavarians have passed the obstacle on the road during this journey by dispatching Benfica 4-0 on Wednesday. Can Bayern Munich continue on that road or will the coaches be hesitant to break up what is working?


Songs of the Week: “I Won’t Back Down”, “Learning To Fly”, and “Down The Line”

It was Tom Petty’s birthday this week (October 20th) and as a devotee, you know I’m going to celebrate with a couple of his popular hits...and a deep cut.

  • “I Won’t Back Down” was released in 1989 on the “Full Moon Fever” album — which was my first Petty-related purchase. It has subsequently become an anthem for anyone battling something:
  • “Learning to Fly” came out in 1991 on the “Into The Great Wide Open” alum during a stretch when I consider Petty to be at his best. That mid-80s to mid-90s period was unreal:
  • “Down The Line” was a song that it took me a long time to find. I was unaware of it until I got “Playback” — a six disc set which includes all of the hits and just a ton of lost gems (including some rare recordings with Stevie Nicks). This set is a MUST HAVE for any Tom Petty fan and the song is damn good as well:

Apologies, Markopolo...we know your feelings on Petty.


ICYMI: The Weekend Warm-up Podcast

Another week is in the books and Bayern Munich made it exciting as always.

The Bavarians crushed both Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga) and Benfica (Champions League), lost Alphonso Davies to a minor injury, saw Leon Goretzka get sick, and found out Julian Nagelsmann tested positive for COVID-19. So, yeah, some things definitely went down.

Here is what we have on tap for this episode:

  • A quick recap of the Leverkusen and Benfica matches — and what it all means.
  • The transfer rumors linking Chelsea FC’s Antonio Rüdiger and Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic to Bayern Munich.
  • A glance at Robert Lewandowski’s future.
  • A quick look at the upcoming slate of games that Bayern Munich will face — potentially without Julian Nagelsmann.

Review: The Walking Dead final season — first half = meh

Well...”They are who we thought they were....and we let ‘em off the hook!” Here are some quick hitters on the first set of episodes:

  • The first half of the final season of The Walking Dead was somewhat entertaining at times, but again fell into the trap of taking too much time to tell a story.
  • There were a lot of stretches in the storytelling for this one, but I rode it out because we are in the final stages of the series.
  • I didn’t mind storyline with “The Reapers” to be honest, but it — again — felt like there was an awful lot of filler pushed into the plot.
  • I think the big question is if there will be a reunion between the greater group, Rick, Michionne, etc. It’s probably safe to assume that there will be.
  • I’ll give myself credit...I am not even putting up the facade of watching Fear The Walking Deal or The Walking Dead: World Beyond. I used to try, but as a wise man once said, “It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.”
  • It’s almost over...(thankfully)

Predictions

There are plenty of distractions — and absolutely some uncertainty — that could play a role in this match for Bayern Munich. Hoffenheim is a squad that is going to be better in March than it is right now, but it still can offer a challenge.

For Bayern Munich fans, there will be two things to keep an eye on:

  • The rotation: With a heavy schedule and a stacked roster, the Bavarians can afford to mix things up a bit. It is probably safe to say we will see Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka (if he is healthy) back in the XI, and potentially some rest for either Benjamin Pavard, Kingsley Coman, or Leroy Sane.
  • Chris Richards: The Bayern Munich loanee will be squaring off against many of his friends. It will be fun t see how the American defender does against Bayern’s high-powered attack.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-0 Hoffenheim

We all know that Gladbach has been the biggest thorn in Bayern Munich’s side in recent years, but this seems like a good opportunity for the Bavarians to punt that line of thinking to the moon.

Bonus DFB-Pokal prediction: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-3 Bayern Munich

Other Bundesliga predictions include:

  • Mainz 05 2-1 FC Augsburg
  • Arminia Bielefeld 1-4 Borussia Dortmund
  • RB Leipzig 3-1 SpVgg Greuther Fürth
  • Wolfsburg 2-1 SC Freiburg
  • Hertha Berlin 1-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • FC Köln 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen
  • VfB Stuttgart 1-2 Union Berlin
  • VfL Bochum 0-3 Eintracht Frankfurt

Prediction Records

Oooof. That was a bad week. Here’s to hoping things get better.

Last Bundesliga Match Day record: 3-6

Overall Bundesliga record: 35-28

DFB-Pokal record: 1-0

DFL-Supercup record: 1-0

Champions League record: 3-0

Overall record: 43-34

Guest prognosticator record: 0-1 (Cowards)