Bayern Munich aim to extend their lead at the top when they visit the Rhein Energie Stadion to face FC Koln on Saturday.
The Bavarians beat relegation strugglers Hamburg 8-0 on Match Day 22 at the Allianz Arena. However, they were unable to extend their lead due to RB Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Saturday’s opponents.
Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick against Hamburg and extended his season tally to 19 goals. This took him two goals ahead of FC Koln striker Anthony Modeste, who scored in the reverse fixture in October’s 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena.
Last season’s Bundesliga champions are currently enjoying a 14-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. They are on the verge of clinching their fifth consecutive league title and boast a 5-point lead over second-place RB Leipzig.
FC Koln enjoyed a very promising start to the season, earning 18 points out of a possible 27 in their opening nine Bundesliga fixtures. However, they’ve only picked up 15 points from their previous 13 league matches.
FCB have scored only 19 of their 54 goals away from home and have also conceded more in the Bundesliga away from the Allianz Arena. Furthermore, the Billy Goats are still unbeaten at the Rhein Energie Stadion.
If Augsburg beat RB Leipzig on Friday, three points for Bayern will send them 8 points clear at the top of the league table. FC Koln were fourth place when they met Bayern at the Allianz Arena in October but have dropped into seventh place.
Bayern Munich have scored the most goals (54) and conceded the fewest (13) in the Bundesliga this season. The Billy Goats have suffered a drastic drop in form since they lost key players Matthias Lehmann and Marcel Risse to injury in November and December.
The hosts have no fresh injury concerns but have five players absent due to long-term injuries. Marcel Risse is expected to return in June, Leonardo Bittencourt is set to recover for April and the return dates of Timo Horn, Sehrou Guirassy and Matthias Lehmann are yet to be estimated.
FC Koln left-back Jonas Hector will also miss the visit of Bayern on Saturday due to suspension. The German international received his fifth yellow card of the season during his club’s 3-1 defeat to RB Leipzig last weekend.
Jerome Boateng and Renato Sanches are doubtful to play against FC Koln on Saturday. Boateng is unlikely to recover from injury and Portuguese international Sanches is currently suffering from illness.
Three Bayern Munich players are in risk of suspension if they receive a yellow card on Saturday. Xabi Alonso, Mats Hummels and Javi Martinez are one booking away from receiving their fifth booking of the season, which would result in a one-match suspension.
Tactical and Statistical Analysis
Bayern Munich have struggled for goals on the road, if you compare it to their outstanding record at the Allianz Arena. Regardless of this record, they have still only lost one game away from home in the Bundesliga this season.
The lethal attack of Bayern could also extend the dismal trend of the Billy Goats conceding from the first shot of the game. The hosts conceded against both FC Schalke and RB Leipzig from the first shot of the game. However, they are unbeaten at home, which could boost team morale and inspire them to stealing points from the defending champions.
Whereas FC Koln have a habit of conceding early, Bayern have a tendency to score in the late stages in recent performances. They scored three goals in stoppage time in their last two away matches against Ingolstadt and Hertha Berlin.
FCB will be likely to dictate and maintain possession, despite playing away from home. Koln will also have to be wary of the right-handed threat from Phillip Lahm and Arjen Robben. This caused havoc against Arsenal and was highly responsible to inflicting a demoralising 5-1 defeat on the gunners.
However, Hertha Berlin countered this tactic very well and shifted John Brooks further to the left hand side of defence to frustrate the German and Dutch duo. Thiago is also a hugely creative source in the team and Stark remained tight on the Spaniard and isolated him to prevent him from opening up their defence.
Hertha also pressed very high and this forced Bayern to pass the ball in deep position due to the compactness of their midfield. Hertha Berlin executed their match plan to perfection but grew complacent and switched off in the last minutes. This is something FC Koln must avoid because switching off against Bayern is likely to end in tragic circumstances.
Here is an example of Hertha’s high pressing against Bayern on Match Day 21:
Hector could’ve been key on effecting the fluency of Bayern’s brain tingling passing midfield. He’ll be a huge miss for the hosts but their formation could possibly threaten Bayern Munich on the counter-attack.
The wing-backs will have to play an instrumental role in catching Bayern on the counter-attack by making bombing runs down the flank. The threat of two strikers may also trouble Bayern’s defence but this could be dealt with by the two central defenders man marking Koln’s forwards.
By playing a back-three and having two deep midfielders, FC Koln will be able to play compact, which will strangle the flow of the game. They will also have a number of gears and great balance in the team if they execute the game plan by using their formation effectively.
By playing with a back-three and two holding midfielders along with two attacking wing-backs, an attacking midfielder and two strikers, FC Koln will have 5 defensive-minded players and 5 attacking-minded players.
However, they must ensured that each and every players knows their defensive responsibilities due to the sheer threat that Bayern possess in the final third and in the midfield.
FC Koln 0-2 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich head into the match as favourites and I’m favouring the current table toppers to extend their 14-match unbeaten streak. Although they’ve looked more vulnerable away from home, they still look incredibly strong and unless FC Koln pull something extraordinary out of the bag, I can only see it going one way.
The battle between Robert Lewandowski and Anthony Modeste will be interesting on Saturday. Although I feel Modeste will threaten in the final third, FC Koln will struggle to supply him with opportunities due to Bayern’s strong defence.