Bayern Munich face a tricky test on Saturday afternoon as the Bavarians go on the road to take on Werder Bremen at the Wohninvest Weserstadion.
Bremen are in decent form going into this contest, with Die Grün-Weißen currently riding a three match unbeaten run. They all but secured their Bundesliga safety on Wednesday, beating Arminia Bielefeld 2-0 to put 11 points between themselves and the bottom three. Now, with that job done, Bremen’s focus will be on playing spoiler this weekend as they build towards their DFB-Pokal quarter-final matchup against Jahn Regensburg in April.
Munich’s concerns are at the very top of the league standings. A comeback victory in Der Klassiker restored their two point advantage over 2nd place RB Leipzig with 10 games to go, maintaining their lead in the race for the title. However, the Bavarians have slipped up on occasion this season, so they’ll look to avoid dropping any more points this time around.
Bremen will be without defender Marco Friedl, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Striker Niclas Füllkrug is dealing with a heel problem, and Luca Plogmann has yet to recover from a knee injury, so neither will be able to feature either. Meanwhile, fellow reserve goalkeeper Michael Zetterer is a doubt for the match.
Munich are in the midst of an injury crisis at the back, as David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Niklas Süle, and Benjamin Pavard are all questionable for the contest. The French duo of Corentin Tolisso and Tanguy Nianzou are both out due to thigh injuries, while Douglas Costa and Ron-Thorben Hoffmann are unavailable as well. On a final note, Alexander Nübel is a doubt for Saturday’s game.
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Veljkovic, Toprak, Moisander, Gebre Selassie, Schmid, Eggestein, Bittencourt, Augustinsson, Sargent, Rashica
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Süle, Boateng, Hernandez, Davies, Kimmich, Goretzka, Sane, Müller, Gnabry, Lewandowski
Ones to watch
Josh Sargent has grabbed most of the headlines due to his three-game goalscoring streak, but Bremen’s hopes of getting anything from this contest will rest on Milot Rashica.
The Kosovo international has a track record versus the Bavarians, scoring two great goals against them in 2019. The first was a wonderful solo goal in the DFB-Pokal, while the second came in league play courtesy of a thunderous strike on the counter. Die Grün-Weißen did lose both of those games, but there’s reason to believe that could change this time around.
Rashica has gotten better and better as the weeks have gone on. He’s not quite at his peak just yet, but he’s certainly getting there. The winger has added a new dynamic to this Bremen team, as his abilities on the ball and pace off of it opens up space in the final third.
He has the ability to take over games, and if Rashica can do that on Saturday, then Die Grün-Weißen could be on course for another big result.
There’s only two Bundesliga teams Robert Lewandowski has not scored against this season: Werder Bremen and RB Leipzig. After this weekend, he’ll be hoping that Leipzig are the only team left on that list.
Lewandowski was kept quiet in the reverse fixture. He couldn’t find any space amongst a compact Bremen defense, and he lacked service as well. A frustrated figure throughout, it was strange to see the striker look so out of it.
That game will serve as motivation for Lewandowski, who is now ready to get his revenge. He’ll also be inspired for other reasons, as the Polish international is on pace to break Gerd Müller’s legendary record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season.
At the moment, Lewandowski has 31. It’ll certainly be a tough task, especially as the campaign goes on, but it's hard to bet against him considering his form since the start of 2020.
A few goals on Saturday would go a long way in Lewandowski’s attempt to make history, but Bremen will be aiming to keep him off the scoresheet once again.
Last time out
It was a surprising result the last time these two sides faced off, as Munich were held to a 1-1 draw by Bremen at the Allianz Arena.
Die Grün-Weißen took the lead right before the half-time break. Josh Sargent did extremely well on the right wing, getting past Javi Martinez before laying off the ball to Maximilian Eggestein in the area. His finish was a perfect one, as he hit a first-time shot past Manuel Neuer and into the bottom corner.
The Bavarians were almost always going to respond, and they did just that by equalizing just past the hour mark. Leon Goretzka hit a high cross towards the back post that flew past everyone except Kingsley Coman. Just like he did in the Champions League final months prior, the Frenchman was able to head home from close range once again.
Munich pushed forward in search of a late winner, but Bremen were able to hold on to secure a marquee point on the road.
How to watch
Those in the UK can watch the contest on BT Sport 2, while the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+ in the United States.