Bayern Munich host Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga this Saturday as they push for a seventh consecutive domestic title.
The Bavarians leapfrogged rivals Borussia Dortmund after a 5-0 hammering sunk the yellow submarine at the Allianz Arena at the start of April. That result saw them take a single point lead at the top of the table, with the following week's victory at Fortuna maintaining their advantage.
They were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, with Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool securing a 3-1 win away from home. That leaves Bayern with two competitions to focus on for the remainder of this campaign, with the DFB-Pokal semi-finals to follow this fixture next week.
They will coincidentally play Saturday's opponents Werder in that tie, as Florian Kohfeldt's men overcame Schalke in the previous round. They currently sit seventh in the table, with qualification for next year's Europa League still a genuine possibility.
Here's 90min's preview of the clash.
Where to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Saturday 20 April|
|What Time is Kick Off?||14:30 (BST)|
|Where is it Played?||Allianz Arena|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Bet365|
Centre-back Niklas Süle will be available for Niko Kovač despite being dismissed against Heidenheim earlier in the month, with his suspension only applying to cup matches.
Veteran winger Arjen Robben has been hampered by a calf problem since the beginning of March, with no return in sight. He is joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who has a similar issue.
Neuer's understudy, Christian Früchtl, is also missing for the meeting with Werder as he continues his recovery from an elbow injury.
Die Werderaner will have to make do without forwards Fin Bartels and Johannes Eggestein, both of whom are struggling with muscular problems, whilst a thigh strain will keep midfielder Philipp Bargfrede out of Saturday's match. Former Real Madrid man Nuri Şahin is suspended for the encounter, as is left-back Jan-Niklas Beste.
|Bayern Munich||Ulreich; Kimmich, Hummels, Süle, Alaba; Thiago, Martinez; Gnabry, Müller, Coman; Lewandowski.|
|Werder Bremen||Pavlenka; Selassie, Veljković, Moisander, Augustinsson; M. Eggestein, Möhwald, Klaassen, Kruse; Rashica, Osako.|
Head to Head Record
A double from wideman Serge Gnabry saw Die Roten claim the points away at Weser Stadium in December. The ex-Arsenal player opened the scoring after lashing home a rebound before Yuya Osako levelled for Werder with a towering header shortly after.
The youngster completed his brace against his old side mere minutes after the restart, a botched clearance ricocheting in off the 23-year-old's shin to hand Bayern a hugely fortuitous victory.
Serge Gnabry ahead of the double meeting with Bremen: "Werder was my first club back to Germany after my time in England. I fell in love with the club during my time there. I am pleased to see them doing well and I’m looking forward to seeing my old friends." [dfb] pic.twitter.com/6HY0XSRA9K— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 16, 2019
That was the Bavarians' 16th win in a row against their opponents, with Werder Bremen's last success coming over a decade ago. Since then they have secured just three draws, receiving a couple of 6-0 humblings, as well as a 7-0 annihilation in front of a devastated home crowd in 2013.
The overall record is resoundingly one-sided, Kovač's team having amassed 24 victories compared to just four defeats. Things have ended all square on five occasions throughout their match-ups.
Bayern have scored 14 goals in their last three fixtures, the 5-0 destruction of Dortmund bookended by 5-4 and 4-1 wins against Heidenheim and Fortuna. They were held in the match preceding that run, as Freiburg kept them to just one score.
Polish hitman Robert Lewandowski has hit six in his last five appearances, including a double in the heavyweight clash with Dortmund. Gnabry has also been in fine fettle, appearing full of confidence as his side push for yet another major honour.
The visitors are the only German club unbeaten in the Bundesliga in 2019, their last defeat coming away to RB Leipzig in their final fixture before the winter break.
They have won five of their last six games in all competitions, seeing off Freiburg a week ago courtesy of a late double from Theodor Gabre Selassie and former Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen.
Here's how both teams fared in their previous five matches:
|Bayern Munich||Werder Bremen|
|Fortuna 1-4 Bayern Munich (14/4)||Werder Bremen 2-1 Freiburg (13/4)|
|Bayern Munich 5-0 Borussia Dortmund (06/4)||Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-1 Werder Bremen (07/4)|
|Bayern Munich 5-4 Heidenheim (03/4)||Schalke 0-2 Werder Bremen (03/4)|
|Freiburg 1-1 Bayern Munich (30/3)||Werder Bremen 3-1 Mainz (30/3)|
|Bayern Munich 6-0 Mainz (17/3)||Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Werder Bremen (17/3)|
Werder have been immaculate since the turn of the year, claiming impressive victories during their stellar run. They go into the game at the Allianz with momentum firmly behind them, suggesting their hosts will have to be at their best to grab the win.
Despite that fine showing, Bayern should have the firepower, experience and expertise to overcome their opposition, especially when they have the added impetus of being in a tense Bundesliga title race.
The league leaders have been rampant since being knocked out of the Champions League, mercilessly trampling those in their way. Subsequently, Werder may well lose their undefeated tag.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-0 Werder Bremen