By 90Min
February 16, 2018

Struggling Wolfsburg entertain Bayern Munich on Saturday afternoon, with their thoughts fully focused on pulling away from the relegation scrap.

Die Wölfe have had a terrible season thus far, with their early season aspirations of qualifying for Europe firmly put to one side. The former Bundesliga champions are fighting for their top flight lives, having won only four league games so far this season.

Martin Schmidt's side slumped to a 3-1 defeat at relegation rivals Werder Bremen last time out, and have only two wins in their last 10 Bundesliga outings.

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Bayern Munich have the Bundesliga title all but sewn up, with the Bavarians holding an 18 point advantage over second placed RP Leipzig. Jupp Heynckes' side have won 14 out of their last 15 league games, and find themselves firmly on course to seal a sixth consecutive title.

Die Bayern struggled somewhat against Schalke last weekend at the Allianz Arena, but despite their perceived dip in performance, still emerged 2-1 winners after goals from Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.

Wolfsburg managed to claim a 2-2 draw in the corresponding fixture back in September, the only time that Bayern have dropped points at home this season. Maximilian Arnold and Didier Didavi's second half goals rescued a point for Die Wölfe, with Bayern throwing away a two-goal lead given to them by Lewandowski, and Arjen Robben.

Classic Encounter

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Bayern have got a firm hold over Wolfsburg in terms of head-to-head record, with the Bavarians losing only twice in their last 23 meetings.

One such occurrence came during the 2008/2009 season, when Wolfsburg clinched their maiden Bundesliga title under the guidance of Felix Magath. 

The season had just under two months to run when Bayern arrived at the Volkswagen Arena for a top of the table clash, with the ensuing carnage ending in a night that all Die Wölfe fans will never forget.

The hosts took the lead through Christian Gentner's header just before the break, only to see Luca Toni pull the Bavarians level just a minute later. The second half would prove to be pivotal in the final outcome of the title race, as Wolfsburg put in a scintillating second half performance.

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Soon to be Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko scored twice in quick succession to put the home side two goals in front, before strike partner Grafite grabbed a brace of his own to seal a resounding 5-1 win, stunning Jurgen Klinsmann's side.

The duo would score 54 goals between them in as Wolfsburg sealed the Bundesliga crown, fending off Bayern by just two points.

Key Battles

Josuha Guilavogui vs. James Rodriguez

The home side have struggled to keep clean sheets this season, and with such a poor winning ratio, will come into this encounter low on confidence.

They face a Bayern side who are feeling the exact opposite, brimming with confidence and hungry for success on the road. One of the success stories of Bayern's season so far has been the performances of James Rodriguez.

The on-loan Real Madrid star has adapted well to his new surroundings, contributing four goals in his 16 Bundesliga appearances. He is likely to start once more, with Josuha Guilavogui most likely tasked with attempting to keep him quiet.

Koen Casteels vs Robert Lewandowski

Wolfsburg's ever present goalkeeper Koen Casteels faces a long afternoon against the potent attacking threat posed by Bayern.

The Belgian will be looking to shut out the irrepressible Robert Lewandowski, who has netted 19 Bundesliga goals so far this season. The Polish talisman has been Bayern's lethal weapon again this season, with his contribution immeasurable to the Bavarian's continued success. 

Team News

Wolfsburg will be without Marcel Tisserand and Yannick Gerhardt for several weeks, as the home side look to bounce back from their dismal display at Werder Bremen.

On-loan Liverpool striker Divock Origi could be recalled to the starting line-up, after finding himself amongst the substitutes last week.

Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes was absent from their 2-1 win over Schalke last weekend, but expects to be back on the bench to oversee their trip to the Volkswagen Arena.

Spanish midfielder Thiago could return after a spell on the sidelines, but Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal misses out through suspension. Manuel Neuer is Bayern's only long-term absentee, with the goalkeeping great recovering from a hairline fracture to his foot.

Predicted Wolfsburg Lineup: Casteels, Verhaegh (c), Bruma, Knoche, William, Guilavogui,, Arnold, Malli, Mehmedi, Brekalo, Origi.

Predicted Bayern Lineup: Ulreich, Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba, Martinez, Thiago, Robben (c), Rodriguez, Ribery, Lewandowski.


Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Wolfsburg face an almost impossible task against the runaway league leaders, with Bayern heavy favourites to continue their stranglehold over the rest of the Bundesliga.

Their recent form has shown they are at the very top of the game, and historically, they hold a phenomenal record against their relegation threatened opponents.

Die Wölfe will be hoping home support can inspire their players to put in their performance of the season, though it seems almost an impossible feat. Bayern's goalscoring ability and relentless approach to winning is likely to see them come out on top.

Prediction: Wolfsburg 0-3 Bayern Munich

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