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  • 06 December 2023

Battleground Showdown: Bayern Munich vs. Union Berlin Preview

In their matchup at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, gameweek 13 between Bayern Munich and Union Berlin, the former might take the lead in the Bundesliga.

 

Union hopes for another successful outcome following their management change, while Thomas Tuchel's team looks to win the competition for the seventh time.

 

Match preview

 

Bayern did not let their last group stage match against Copenhagen, which ended in a goalless draw, much influence them because they had already secured the top position in the section.

 

On Saturday, they will resume their Bundesliga duties, looking to accumulate as many points as possible to go up over Bayer Leverkusen, who will host Borussia Dortmund the following day.

 

In Die Bayern's most recent league triumph in Cologne, Tuchel refused to make any replacements. This is the first league game since the club's December 2010 match against St. Pauli that the team has not changed its starting lineup.

 

Even if the score of 1-0 indicates otherwise, Tuchel's squad quickly secured their sixth victory as Harry Kane continued his incredible start to life in Germany's top flight.

 

In addition to becoming the first Englishman to score as many goals in the Bundesliga, surpassing Jadon Sancho's 17 goals, the center-forward made league history by becoming the first player to achieve 18 goals in the first 12 rounds of the tournament.

 

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker is targeting Union, now in second place, to build on his fantastic debut season in Bavaria.

 

Regarding Union, many were taken aback by Urs Fisher's exit, even though the team's season collapsed following a miserable beginning.

 

The last straw was the crushing 4-0 loss to table-toppers Bayer Leverkusen, which followed a valiant Champions League point against Napoli at the Maradona.

 

Since then, Nenad Bjelica has taken over as manager. The former Trabzonspor coach must keep the team out of the dreaded relegation zone to save their top-flight status after five years.

 

The Iron Ones had lost 12 straight games during their winless streak in all competitions, but they have snapped that run of losses and have drawn two consecutive games.

While one point each at Augsburg the previous weekend and against Sporting Braga on Wednesday may not seem like much, it puts Union on the road to recovery following a brutal 2023–24 campaign.

 

The way Bayern is now playing

Midweek in the Champions League, FC Copenhagen held Bayern to a scoreless draw at home after four straight victories across all competitions. But in the end, it didn't matter since Thomas Tuchel's team had already been officially declared the winners of their group. The circumstances are different in the Bundesliga, so the head coach is urging a better showing. During his press conference on Friday, Tuchel stated, "We need to up the tempo and play with more bite." He also disclosed that he would be playing his best lineup for the remainder of the season and not taking any player rests.

 

"We need to be careful to turn on the light. We weren't at our best in our past two home games," the 50-year-old continued. 1. FC Heidenheim was defeated 4-2 by FCB in the Allianz Arena before the match against Copenhagen. Tuchel can at least be content with the team's performance in the league despite his sometimes negative views about his team's play. After 12 matchdays, the Reds have 32 points, which makes them the best second-place team ever. Tuchel knows that to maintain pressure on leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who take on Dortmund on Sunday, they must win seven straight Bundesliga games. He said, "We want to win every game we play."

 

The opponents: Union Berlin

 

Union Berlin went from the second division to the Champions League in just five years, but this season, the Köpenick club's fantastic journey has ended. The team fired longtime coach Urs Fischer in mid-November following an extraordinary losing run. Still, neither Marco Grote, the interim coach, nor new manager Nenad Bjelica have turned things around. The midweek 1-1 tie in the UCL against Sporting Braga was the 16th competitive encounter in which die Eisernen failed to win.

 

Their lowest point total in their short career in the Bundesliga is seven after 12 games. Union and Bayern had the league's top defense together the previous season, but it was the foundation of their success and has since shattered. The capital club's defense is the second most vulnerable in the German top division, trailing only Darmstadt, with 27 goals given up. Before the trip to the Allianz Arena, FCU's new coach Bjelica calls for an improvement over his team's recent showings, saying, "We'll need a top performance if we're to hold our own in Munich."

 

The team news for Bayern vs. Union Berlin

 

When Kane returns to league play, he'll be looking to build on his stellar 18 goals to keep his lead over Serhou Guirassy of Stuttgart (15 goals) in the standings.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (knee), Min-Jae Kim (hip), and Noussair Mazraoui (sickness) will not play in Wednesday's tie against Copenhagen, adding to Tuchel's list of injured players, which already included Jamal Musiala (hamstring), Matthijs de Ligt (knee), and Tarek Buchmann (hamstring).

 

On Wednesday, Leonardo Bonucci was allowed to rejoin the team, but it's unclear if Bjelica would start the seasoned defender in his first Bundesliga game as the team's trainer.

Sheraldo Becker and Danilho Doekhi, who are questionable for Saturday due to injuries, could miss the Iron Ones game.

 

Bayern Munich's possible starting lineup:

Neuer; Laimer, Kratzig, Upamecano, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Coman, Muller, Sane; Kane

 

Union Berlin's possible starting lineup:

Ronnow; Juranovic, Knoche, Leite, Roussillon; Khedira; Volland, Tousart, Laidouni, Gosens; Behrens

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