Sunday’s final game will pit the age and wisdom of veteran Christian Streich against the youth of Julian Nagelsmann at the Allianz Arena as both sides look to retake the leadership of the Bundesliga from Union Berlin.
Bayern will be hugely disappointed that they ‘dropped’ two points against Borussia Dortmund last week in the Klassiker but will be glad to have already booked their advancement to the next stage of the Champions League after their win at Plzeň.
That the Bavarians are still not top of the table after nine games will irk everyone at the club and they will be going all-out before the World Cup break to rectify the unusual situation.
The correct formula is yet to be found in their forward line, although what is known is that Jamal Musiala is a shoo-in when fit (which luckily for Freiburg is not the case right now).
To say that Freiburg have a poor record at the Allianz Arena would be an understatement and a half. The Breisgauer have taken just one solitary point from their last eighteen visits (2018-19). Could this be the year that the horrible record ends?
Freiburg are certainly playing well this season and are above Bayern in the table on merit. They are also cruising through their Europa League group and easily beat Nantes 4-0 on Thursday to all-but confirm their place in the next stage.
57-year-old Christian Streich still insists avoiding relegation is the main target for the season, but he will have one eye on ‘doing an Augsburg’ by beating 35-year-old Julian Nagelsmann and usurping Union at the top of the table.
There are still a number of selection issues for Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann to work through ahead of the visit of Freiburg. Manuel Neuer will be absent once more with a shoulder injury.
Jamal Musiala is ready to return after his Covid infection but will be on the bench. Thomas Müller came off early against Plzeň but should be in contention as will Matthijs de Ligt and Serge Gnabry. There is also good news regarding Alphonso Davies after his concussion suffered against Dortmund and he is ready to return. Kingsley Coman is suspended following his sending off against Dortmund.
Possible line-up: Ulreich, Pavard, Upamecano, de Ligt, Davies, Kimmich, Goretzka, Gnabry, Sané, Müller, Mané
A lot will depend on the condition of the players following the trip to Nantes, but Christian Streich has not used rotation too much this season after midweek outings. The theory seems to be- why change a winning team?
Possible line-up: Flekken, Sildillia, Ginter, Lienhart, Günter, Eggestein, Höfler, Doan, Höler, Grifo, Gregoritsch
What they’re saying:
Julian Nagelsmann: “What matters is that we show our performance. They [Union] have clear procedures that you can always see in every game. You can see that there is an education behind it and the interaction between player and coach is good. They made good transfers this year too and otherwise have a squad that has worked well together.
“Otherwise, they have a lot of continuity in the club. They’re playing a very good round again this year, also internationally. It’s up to us to play a top game and get back to where we want to be as quickly as possible.
“We have a team that wants to constantly improve. But we can’t train much in the current phase. The quality inevitably suffers from the rhythm that we drive in the top leagues because you can’t train a lot. The quality of the games is getting worse because you just pant from game to game.”
Christian Streich: “It will be a completely different game than in Nantes. It’s nice that we can go to Munich in this position. Now they’re not first and we hope that they won’t be after our game either.”
12.10.22 Viktoria Plzeň (a) 2-4 W (Champions League)
08.10.22 Borussia Dortmund (a) 2-2 D (Bundesliga)
04.10.22 Viktoria Plzeň (h) 5-0 W (Champions League)
30.09.22 Bayer Leverkusen (h) 4-0 W (Bundesliga)
17.09.22 Augsburg (a) 1-0 L (Bundesliga)
13.10.22 Nantes (a) 04 W (Europa League)
09.10.22 Hertha Berlin (a) 1-1 D (Bundesliga)
06.10.22 Nantes (h) 2-0 W (Europa League)
01.10.22 Mainz (h) 2-1 W (Bundesliga)
18.09.22 Hoffenheim (a) 0-0 D (Bundesliga)
The corresponding fixture at the Allianz Arena last season on matchday 11 saw Bayern end Freiburg’s unbeaten start to the campaign with a 2-1 win. Goals from Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski put the hosts in control and a Janik Haberer goal in stoppage time proved a mere consolation.
Players to watch:
While there has been a lot of scrutiny on Sadio Mané this season, the extreme dip in form seen in Serge Gnabry is more of a worry for Bayern. One good game however could be the spark to ignite Gnabry’s season, which with the World Cup coming up in November will be of interest to Bundestrainer Hansi Flick as well.
Having played for Bavarian side Augsburg for five seasons, Michael Gregoritsch has an intimate knowledge of Bayern’s standing and power and would love perhaps more than most to get one over on the regional giants. He has made an excellent start to life in the Black Forest and will look forward to testing himself against Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt