After being unable to add some comfort at the top of the table last week, Bayern Munich aim to retain their place at the Bundesliga’s pinnacle when they travel to lowly FC Koln this weekend.
The Bavarians were held by RB Leipzig in a game they could’ve easily lost last week, but the draw maintained their stand at first place. Koln have been pretty impressive at home this season and ousted some heavyweights, but it’ll take a colossal effort for the newly-promoted side to create an upset on Sunday.
Story Behind The Game
Despite that set-back to Leipzig, Bayern remains unbeaten in 2020. Apart from that draw, they’ve won their remaining three games in compelling fashion and will look to continue that against Koln.
But the Billy Goats have also been pretty good after the winter break, winning two games and just losing one in their three games after the break. They last defeated Freiburg 4-0 and will be determined to put in a similar performance to stop the Bayern juggernaut.
History, however, is not on their side. Bayern have defeated Koln four times in their last five meetings, with the Billy Goats last being able to get anything from the Bavarians in 2016!
Hans-Dieter Flick is determined to keep that record intact as the competitive title race means they just cannot afford to slip up. Bayern will be gunning to prove that last week was a glitch in the matrix as they’ll take an all-out approach to gain another big win over the Billy Goats in order to retain their place at the top.
Koln will be cautious by their threat, but are definitely inspired by their commendable recent home form. Their loud faithful give them enough incentive to endure pressure and take the fight to whoever stands in their way. The Billy Goats might be well clear of the relegation spot, but gaining points against an in-form Bayern should prove they’re here to stay for good.
FC Koln have no injuries worries right now and will be refreshed after not featuring last weekend, with their game against Borussia Monchengladbach being called off due to bad weather.
Bayern’s injury fortunes are also improving as Lucas Hernandez is available after regaining full fitness. Niklas Sule, Ivan Perisic and Javi Martinez are the only absentees as they’re yet to recover from their injuries.
FC Koln XI: Horn, Ehizibue, Bornauw, Cziichos, Katterbach, Skhiri, Hector, Drexler, Uth, Jakobs, Cordoba
Bayern Munich XI: Neuer, Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies, Kimmich, Thiago, Coutinho, Muller, Gnabry, Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski vs Sebatiaan Bornauw
Robert Lewandowski was unable to add to his tally against RB Leipzig, being frustrated by their sturdy backline which put an end to his goal-scoring run. Well, that probably just made him angrier. The Polish striker will look to vent his fury on the newly-promoted side, bullying them with his unpredictable movement and devastating scoring ability.
Sebastiaan Bornauw did a very good job in keeping Nils Petersen quiet in his last game at home, but doing the same on Lewandowski’s a whole different ball-game. The young Belgian’s shown big potential this season, but will look to overcome his biggest obstacle yet in keeping the league’s best striker quiet and avenging something for his side.
Jonas Hector vs Thiago Alcantara
Jonas Hector has admirably led FC Koln to some stunning results this season, but he doesn’t have the best of records against Bayern. The Billy Goats’ captain aims to turn that around, as he’ll have to be at his very best to galvanize his team-mates. Hector must also keep a check on the buzzy Thiago Alcantara, who can create opportunities at the blink of an eye.
If he loses concentration, Bayern’s midfield magician can break apart his defence and take the game away from him. There is no margin for error for Hector, as he must work his hardest into aiding his backline, getting the ball forward and spiriting his side to stand tall against the league leaders.