Bayern Munich can seal the Bundesliga this weekend

Written by: Published: 21 April 2015.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich will seal their third successive German Bundesliga title and extend their national record to 24 this weekend if they can outdo VfL Wolfsburg’s result.

The Bavarian giants are at home to bottom-half Hertha Berlin in Saturday evening’s televised game before VfL Wolfsburg travel to in-form Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday.

Bayern Munich need to better the result of the Wolves to be crowned champions this weekend.

Hertha Berlin’s form book reads unbeaten in seven, winning three. However, all three of those wins and four of those matches have come against four sides currently below Pál Dárdai’s side in the table. Hertha themselves only five places off the bottom.

The defending Bundesliga champions have won the last seven meetings head-to-head, but the 1-0 win in the German capital earlier this season was the first time that they had not scored at least three goals during this streak.

Guardiola has a 100% win record versus Hertha Berlin and despite facing FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League this evening, and then Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup semi-final next Tuesday, Bayern have enough strength in depth to warrant being the heavy favourites on Saturday.

Should Bayern win, Wolfsburg could still prevent them from winning the title in April. Dieter Hecking’s side face the tough test of a trip to Borussia Park where Mönchengladbach where the hosts are on a seven-game winning streak in their own stadium, having lost only one there all season.

Gladbach themselves are looking to confirm a top four finish themselves this weekend, whilst are currently level on points with Bayer 04 Leverkusen for third spot which would mean automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League.

Wolfsburg will only have two days’ rest following their Europa League trip to Napoli on Thursday, but Hecking is expected to rest much of his first team having lost to the Italian side 4-1 at Volkswagen Arena in the first leg.

Should Bayern Munich not wrap up the title this weekend, they can be crowned champions at Bayer Leverkusen the following Saturday. Having lost two games already this season, there are few records for Guadiola’s side to chase between now and the end of the season, but chasing another historic treble remains their focus.

Don’t expect Bayern to field their strongest team this weekend, but don’t be surprised if they are crowned the German Bundesliga champions for a record 24th time either.

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Can Bayern Munich win the treble?

Written by: Published: 19 March 2015.

Although the shock 4-1 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg offered hope for those outside of Bavaria that Bayern Munich could be dethroned, the reigning Bundesliga champions have since returned to their ominous best and swept aside their opponents with relative ease. It appears inevitable that Pep Guardiola’s side will secure their third consecutive league title in a row, with six straight victories putting them eleven points clear with just nine games remaining.

Bayern Munich have simply been a joy to watch this season, and while many may cast an envious glance in their direction, they have a squad capable of dominating German football for many years to come. Their quality has also shone through in the Champions League, with Guardiola leading his team into the Quarter Finals with the sort of ruthless streak that could result in them winning their second major European title in three years. The Bundesliga leaders have also reached the same stage of the DFB Pokal to put them within touching distance of a potential treble, and in their current irresistible form, it may be the best time to back Bayern Munich to enjoy success in all three competitions.

Bundesliga

Extending their Bundesliga record of league titles to twenty-five would be yet another indication of the level of domination that Bayern Munich have enjoyed throughout their illustrious history. It would also be the fourth time that the Bavarians have won three back-to-back titles, and while Wolfsburg have enjoyed excellent progress under Dieter Hecking, the 2009 champions may be too far away to prevent Bayern Munich from storming towards the 2014/2015 title. Hamburg and Paderborn may be struggling at the wrong end of the table, but the respective 8-0 and 6-0 hammerings that Guardiola’s side delivered were a perfect demonstration to those who may have doubted their quality after defeat at the Volkswagen Arena that they simply have too much quality that the rest of the Bundesliga cannot currently match. Upcoming fixtures against the two Borussia-based teams, Gladbach and Dortmund, may offer a real test of their title credentials, but with Bayern Munich looking unstoppable in recent weeks, it appears unlikely that their march towards the title will be halted.

DFB Pokal

Some fans may question where the DFB Pokal ranks in Bayern Munich’s list of priorities, but Guardiola has shown during his managerial career that he takes every competition very seriously. The seventeen-time winners may be spurred on by the potential opportunity of breaking yet another domestic record and become the first team to win three consecutive cups in a row. Bayern Munich have beaten Preußen Münster, Hamburg and Eintracht Braunschweig on their way to another quarter-final appearance where they will face a tough test at ever-improving Bayern 04 Leverkusen. Roger Schmidt has finally got Leverkusen firing on all cylinders, with their recent 4-0 victory against struggling VfB Stuttgart illustrating their recent progress under the former RB Salzburg manager.

Champions League

Being blown away by Real Madrid at the semi-final stage of last season’s Champions League was considered a huge disappointment for Bayern Munich, with the 5-0 aggregate loss sending shockwaves across Europe. It has made the club even hungrier for more Champions League success, and have set about writing the wrongs of last season in imperious style. Despite being drawn in a tough group which included English Premier League champions Manchester City, Serie A runners-up Roma and Russian champions CSKA Moscow, Bayern Munich swept them aside with unerring ease, with the 7-1 rout in Rome a clear indication that Guardiola’s side mean business.

They faced a potentially tricky draw against Ukranian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in the last sixteen, but while Bayern Munich struggled to a 0-0 draw in Ukraine, they made the most of a record third minute red card for Oleg Kucher at the Allianz Arena to secure a resounding 7-0 win. Holger Badstuber, fresh from returning from a long-term injury absence, marked an emotional return with a goal, with no less than six Bayern Munich players getting on the scoresheet as they made a real case for being strong contenders to win the Champions League in Berlin.

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Shock Defeat for Bayern Provides Temporary Hope for Wolfsburg

Written by: Published: 04 February 2015.

Bayern Munich suffered a shock 4-1 defeat against their nearest competitors in the Bundesliga – VfL Wolfsburg – upon their return to league action. The German league has been in hibernation over the last few weeks, but it announced its return in the most emphatic manner with this shock result. Bayern were in danger of running away with the league, but their lead has now been cut to eight points. Despite this huge setback, Bayern remain favourites – amongst Betfair in the 2015 Bundesliga odds – for the league title. Odds of 1/250 suggest that the club are almost certainties for the title.

This defeat provides scope for teams like Wolfsburg to have a glimmer of title success. No other team has been able to keep pace with Bayern this season. Both teams have European commitments starting from February, although Bayern are more than expected to be at the latter stages of the Champions League. Wolfsburg face Portuguese outfit Sporting Club in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League. A big boost for the second placed team will be the signing of André Schürrle. The German international, who won the World Cup last summer, comes from Chelsea for a fee of around £22 million.

Schürrle is the second major signing for Wolfsburg from Chelsea after the German club had earlier bought Kevin De Bruyne for around a similar fee recently. The transfer of De Bruyne has worked very well for them and Dieter Hecking will be hoping for more of the same. Schürrle’s form has been inconsistent in the league this season, but he played a major role in Germany’s success in Brazil. The 24-year-old was largely utilised as an impact substitute by Joachim Löw. Schürrle may expect more first-team opportunities at Wolfsburg.

For Bayern, this was a humiliating defeat and one the few meaningful league matches that Guardiola has lost since his arrival almost 2 years ago. Hence, it is too early to come to a conclusion that the former Barcelona manager fast needs to find a Plan B. It is especially true when looking at the sizable advantage that the Bavarians have in the league table. Bayern coasted to the finish last season and it was seen as one of the reasons for the poor performance in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Counter-attacks were the story of the night after Wolfsburg adopted tactics similar to those used by Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-final against Bayern. For most periods, Jérôme Boateng found himself as the last man in defence. It was due to the combination of Bayern playing an extremely high line and Wolfsburg immediately starting attacks once they won possession.

The next couple of weeks will be very crucial for the club. Schalke are the visitors to the Allianz Arena in the next league match. Under the guidance of Roberto Di Matteo, Schalke have emerged as one of the contenders for the final Champions League qualification spot. They are level on points with Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Augsburg, while Bayer 04 Leverkusen are not too far behind.

Bayern may have suffered their first league defeat of the season, but it has not altered the strength in the eyes of bookmakers. Betfair places Bayern Munich at 1/7 for a victory when they take on Schalke during weekend. Schalke’s last victory against Bayern away from home came in 2009.

After publicly courting Manchester United a few months back, doubts continue to persist about Guardiola’s future in Germany. The Spaniard is yet to sign a new contract and his existing deal runs out in the summer of 2016.

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[Teams] Wolfsburg vs Bayern Munich

Written by: Published: 30 January 2015.

The second half of the 2014-15 German Bundesliga kicks off tonight as VfL Wolfsburg host defending champions Bayern Munich at the Volkswagen Arena with kick off in less than an hour’s time.

This match sees the top two sides in Germany go head-to-head although the hosts trail the runaway leaders by a staggering 11 points.

Bayern Munich welcomed Holger Badstuber back to training during the winter break whilst Wolfsburg tragically lost Junior Malanda to a car accident.

The two teams are confirmed as:

VfL Wolfsburg

Diego Benaglio; Vieirinha, Robin Knoche, Naldo, Ricardo Rodríguez; Maximilian Arnold, Luiz Gustavo, Daniel Caligiuri, Kevin  De Bruyne, Ivan Perišić; Bas Dost

Substitutes: Max Grün, Marcel Schäfer, Timm Klose, Paul Seguin, Aaron Hunt, Sebastian Jung, Nicklas Bendtner

Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer; Jérôme Boateng, Dante, David Alaba; Xabi Alonso; Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sebastian Rode, Juan Bernat;  Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller

Substitutes: Pepe Reina, Mehdi Benatia, Holger Badstuber, Gianluca Gaudino, Mitchell Weiser, Mario Götze, Claudio Pizarro

Holger Badstuber is named amongst the substitutes for Bayern Munich who are playing three at the back with Xabi Alonso, Sebastian Rode and Bastian Schweinsteiger offering protection in centre midfield.

Arjen Robben and Juan Bernat are playing as wingbacks with Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski the two attackers.

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Holger Badstuber returns to training

Written by: Published: 19 January 2015.

Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber returned to training today.

The 25-year old has spent the best part of two years on the sidelines through injury, missing the whole of last season entirely with an injured ACL picked up in December 2012.

Shortly after returning from his injury he reaggreviated it again in May 2013.

Holger Badstuber managed just three games this season before suffered with a thigh injury.

The 30-time Germany international confirmed on Twitter this evening that he returned to training today for the first time in four months:

Holger Badstuber came through the youth ranks at Bayern, making his senior team debut in 2009 and ended up starting the 2010 World Cup campaign after only a single season as a pro.

The left-back-come-centre-back managed two more full seasons in the Bayern Munich first team and was selected for Joachim Löw’s Germany squad for Euro 2012.

Badstuber has managed just 15 Bundesliga appearances in the two-and-a-half years since then because of long-term injuries.  He has 10 days to get himself into shape before the second half of the season kicks off with Bayern Munich travelling to VfL Wolfsburg on Friday 30 January.

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Arjen Robben Bitten by a Crocodile

Written by: Published: 17 January 2015.

Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben has been bitten by a crocodile whilst the club are on their winter break tour of Qatar.

The Dutch international was retrieving a ball from a lake on Bayern’s winter training camp in Qatar when he was bitten by a crocodile, the Bild have reported.

As a result, Robben finished the day wearing a bandage around his heavily bruised thumb, middle and ring fingers, as shown in the photo below:

 Arjen Robben

The 2014-15 German Bundesliga season does not return until Friday 30 January when league leaders Bayern travel to second-place VfL Wolfsburg.

This gives Robben the best part of a fortnight to recover, not that a hand injury is going to stop the flying Dutchman being available for a football match.

Robben has scored 10 goals in his 13 Bundesliga appearances under Pep Guardiola this season as Bayern run away with the league once again – 11 points clear at the halfway stage.

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Manuel Neuer reaches century mark

Written by: Published: 24 September 2014.

Germany’s number one, Manuel Neuer made his 100th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern Munich on Tuesday during their 4-0 thrashing of SC Paderborn at the Allianz Arena.

The victory ensures the defending champions top the table with 11 points after five games.

Manuel Neuer is in his fourth season with the Bavarians since becoming the second most-expensive goalkeeper of all-time in a €22 million switch from Schalke 04 in the summer of 2011.

The World Cup winner is rated as the best goalkeeper in the world by many and he has the statistics to back it up.  In Neuer’s 100 Bundesliga games for FCB he has now kept a staggering 53 clean sheets.  He is on pace to break Oliver Kahn’s record of 204 clean sheets in his career.

Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski fired Bayern Munich into a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes against the newly-promoted Paderborn side who had been unbeaten in their first four Bundesliga games this season.

The visitors came into the game off the back of three consecutive clean sheets but number four was never likely in this match.

Götze scored his second of the game 15 minutes from time before Thomas Müller rounded off the scoring with five minutes to go.

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Badstuber sidelined again

Written by: Published: 14 September 2014.

Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber is expected to be out for several weeks after limping off with a thigh injury during their 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.

Badstuber only recently returned to first-team action after being sidelined for an incredible 20 months with a cruciate knee injury.

The 25-year old picked up a partial tear of his left thigh this time and will now undergo surgery.

Holger Badstuber told the club’s official website:

“Of course I’m very disappointed at the moment. But I’ve learned how to cope with this type of situation. I’ll be back soon and will pick up where I left off after my long injury lay-off. I won’t give up!”

Holger Badstuber had been fit to start all three of Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga matches so far this season but managed just 43 minutes over the weekend before being forced off.

Head coach Pep Guardiola has a few absentees ahead of his side’s match with English Premier League opponents Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League midweek.

Bayern Munich have taken seven points from their opening three league games this season as they go in hunt of their third consecutive Bundesliga title in Guardiola’s second season in charge.

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