On Tuesday night, league leaders Bavarians host the Billy Goats outfit who are stranded in a relegation battle.
Bayern Munich has made the Allianz Arena a fortress and has been undefeated there for more than a year. The Bavarians scored their 50th goal of the season courtesy of Eric Maxim Choupo Moting against RB Leipzig as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Naglesmann’s former side. Despite dropping points on six different occasions, Bayern Munich are way ahead and heading towards another league title. They have a 5-point lead over Eintracht Frankfurt, Union Berlin and Leipzig who are all locked up at 30 points. A Champions League clash against the heavyweights PSG is on the horizon for the Bavarians. They will be looking to round off their impressive form with a win against Baumgart’s men.
FC Koln was struggling to find a win up until they demolished Werder Bremen by 7-1 to give themselves a massive lift-off in the relegation battle. They instantly leapt up to 10th in the league table and are now just 2 points behind Borussia Monchengladbach. Whom they can overcome if they manage to stage an unlikely upset. Prior to this, they managed to get only one point in their last five fixtures in the Bundesliga and were looking out for all sorts to bring their season back on track. The Billy Goats have not won against the Bavarians since 2011 and will be desperate to make a mark this time around.
Kick-off: Wednesday, 25th January, 01:00 am (IST), 07:30 pm: (GMT), Tuesday, 24th January
Bayern Munich form (all competition): D-D-W-W-W
FC Koln form (all competition): W-W-W-L-L
Player to watch
A forerunner to fill in the boots of Thomas Mueller, this young talent has a fascinating bag of tricks and the ability to wriggle out of complex situations. An inter-generational talent, he is over-ambitious at times but what makes him special is his excellent awareness of his surroundings and the sheer urge to score goals despite his tender age having scored 9 goals in 15 appearances for The Bavarians this season.
He can operate as a midfielder and also as a striker depending on the game. A sound-minded footballer with great skills, he possesses an immaculate sense of possessional play and holds the team intact. Baumgart trusts him for his undefined potential and he has certainly been a part of their recent revival. He scored in their 7-1 mauling of Werder Bremen and will be looking forward to repeating the same feat against Nagelsmann’s side.
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- FC Koln has been defeated by Bayern Munich in each of their last nine meetings. Koln have been unable to record win a against the Bavarians since February 2011.
- Bayern Munich won the encounter by a close margin the last time they faced each other in Allianz Arena by 3-2.
- Bayern Munich has been relentless in their last four fixtures as they found the net four times on each of those occasions.
Injury and team news
The arrival of Yan Sommer has been key news as Manuel Neuer remains sidelined for the rest of the campaign with a broken leg. Sadio Mane still faces the leg injury that kept him out of the World Cup and is likely to be absent for the next month too. An identical pairing of Upamecano and De Ligt is expected in the defence as Mazraoui and Lucas Hernandez are still absent. Thomas Mueller is a viable option but Musiala is expected to get the nod ahead of him who has been clinical this season.
There is a long list of injury for Baumgart’s side as Mark Uth, Kristian Pedersen, Luca Kilian, Jan Thielman, Sebastian Andersson, Florian Dietz are joined by Skhiri. He was subbed off after an injury concern against Werder Bremen. Dejan Ljubicic or Mathias Olesen might be given a run due to the absence of their prolific striker Skhiri.
Bayern Munich: 23
FC Koln: 4
Bayern Munich predicted lineup (4-2-3-1):
Sommer; Pavard, Upamecano, De Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Musiala, Gnabry; Choupo-Moting
FC Koln predicted lineup (4-4-2):
Schwabe; Schmitz, Hubers, Chabot, Hector; Maina, Skhiri, Martel, Kainz; Tigges, Huseinbasic
A shock is highly unlikely as Bayern Munich have been relentless when it comes to opponents who have been struggling to have their own run of form. Injury concerns are a massive concern for Baumgart who will have to ready his troops with more consistency if they are to tumble the heavyweight in their own soil.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 FC Koln.