Bayern Munich - Allianz Arena

What: German Bundesliga
Who: Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen
When: Saturday 11th September, 2010, at 17:30 UK Time
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Déjà Vu

Trailing early on in the Bundesliga title race has become a custom for Bayern Munich; last season’s champions were humbled by Kaiserslautern in just their second match of the new season. The fact that Bayern started the previous campaign in an awful manner before eventually winning the domestic double and reaching the final of the Champions League, and that they won their first game against Wolfsburg, is what is keeping the critics at bay. For now, at least.

Talk at the Allianz Arena has centered recently around Arjen Robben’s latest injury. The Dutch master was revealed to be carrying two tears in his hamstring during last summer’s FIFA World Cup, and his subject has been an issue of debate between his bosses and the Dutch FA. Either way, the former Chelsea man has a long rehabilitation ahead of him, one that couldn’t come at a more difficult time for his team.

No Ozil, No Problem

It didn’t take long for Werder Bremen to forget their star man and World Cup sensation Mesut Ozil, who moved to pastures new in Spain with Real Madrid. As such, Bremen managed to edge out Sampdoria for a position in the Champions League group stage, and cruised to victory against Koln recently in the German league.

One problem that Werder could be facing is their number of bodies at the club’s infirmary. New signing Wesley from Santos joins the likes of Felix Kroos, Per Mertesacker and Claudio Pizarro in the treatment room, all of whom are likely to miss this pivotal encounter. However, Thomas Schaaf’s squad has enough depth to make up for these names, with stars such as Marko Marin, Hugo Almeida, and Marko Arnautovic expected to seize their opportunity.  

Recent form

Bayern Munich:
FC Germania Dattenfeld 0-4 Bayern Munich (16/08; DFB Pokal)
Bayern Munich 2-1 Wolfsburg (20/08; Bundesliga)
Kaiserslautern 2-0 Bayern Munich (27/08; Bundesliga)

Werder Bremen:
TSG Hoffenheim 4-1 Werder Bremen (21/08; Bundesliga)
Sampdoria 3-2 Werder Bremen (24/08; Champions League)
Werder Bremen 4-2 FC Köln (28/08; Bundesliga)

Key absences

Bayern Munich: David Alaba; Martin Demichelis; Arjen Robben

Werder Bremen: Wesley; Niklas Andersen; Naldo; Felix Kroos; Pascal Testroet; Dominik Schmidt; Per Mertesacker; Claudio Pizarro (doubt)

Players to watch

Bayern Munich – Bastian Schweinsteiger: The engine of both Bayern and the Nationalmannschaft, Schweinsteiger’s performance will be crucial in dictating the outcome of this match. Simply unplayable at his best, the midfielder’s could well see his stock rise even higher this season, with Real Madrid reportedly already pulling out their cheque book. 

Werder Bremen – Marko Arnautovic: The former Internazionale flop is finally coming to life in the Bundesliga, and he ran the show against Köln with two goals and an assist. Snapped up this summer by Thomas Schaaf, the Austrian starlet is starting to show just why he was such a cult hero at former club Twente.

Match prediction

Louis van Gaal’s men won’t want to slip up again as two defeats on the bounce could see pressure really start to build. However, Werder Bremen won’t be easy opponents and will be hungry to take advantage of any Bayern slip-ups. At the Allianz Arena though, Bayern should find home comfort and grind out a 2-1 win.