Wolfsburg-Bayern Munich Preview: Red-hot Bavarians can extend their Bundesliga lead
Jupp Henyckes' side can go 18 points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund with a win over a side against whom they have not dropped points against since 2011
By Jerrad Peters
Fagner, Naldo, Madlung, Schafer
Vieirinha, Diego, Perisic
Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba
Luiz Gustavo, Schweinsteiger
Muller, Kroos, Ribery
Jupp Heynckes will bring Daniel Van Buyten back into the heart of defence at the expense of Jerome Boateng after he was rested last week. Javi Martinez has a minor toe injury, allowing Luiz Gustavo to slot back into midfield.
Further forward, Thomas Muller should replace Arjen Robben on the right, and Mario Mandzukic is likely to face his old club ahead of Mario Gomez. Holder Badstuber is out for the rest of the season with a anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Dieter Hecking, meanwhile, is still without midfielder Vaclav Pilar, who was injured while on duty with the Czech Republic in August and whose knee surgery ruled him out for the rest of the campaign. Striker Patrick Helmes is also still missing after his knee injury in a pre-season friendly against Manchester City and is not expected back until next month at the earliest.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Bayern have won their last four matches against Wolfsburg by a combined score of 8-1.
- Wolfsburg last picked up a point against Bayern more than two years ago, when they played the Bavarian giants to a 1-1 draw at home on January 15, 2011.
- Bayern have kept four successive clean sheets heading into Friday’s match, and during that stretch have outscored their opponents 11-0.
- Ivica Olic has scored only two Bundesliga goals for Wolfsburg since moving from Bayern in the summer. Bas Dost leads the side with eight.
- Mario Mandzukic (pictured, right) played two seasons at Wolfsburg before moving to Bayern last summer. He is now the leading goals-scorer at his new club with 14 Bundesliga goals - two more than he scored all of last season for Wolfsburg.
- Since winning the Bundesliga title in 2009, Wolfsburg have finished no higher than eighth in the table and came close to being relegated in 2011.
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Top 3 Predictions
VfL Wolfsburg 0-3 FC Bayern München
- 23.23 %
VfL Wolfsburg 0-2 FC Bayern München
- 14.95 %
VfL Wolfsburg 1-3 FC Bayern München
- 11.06 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Mar 8, 2014||VfL Wolfsburg 1 - FC Bayern München 6|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Sep 28, 2013||FC Bayern München 1 - VfL Wolfsburg 0|
|Germany - DFB-Pokal (GERC)||Apr 16, 2013||FC Bayern München 6 - VfL Wolfsburg 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Feb 15, 2013||VfL Wolfsburg 0 - FC Bayern München 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Sep 25, 2012||FC Bayern München 3 - VfL Wolfsburg 0|
|Mar 8, 2014||VfL Wolfsburg 1 - FC Bayern München 6||GER1|
|Mar 2, 2014||Hoffenheim 6 - VfL Wolfsburg 2||GER1|
|Feb 22, 2014||VfL Wolfsburg 3 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1||GER1|
|Feb 16, 2014||Hertha BSC 1 - VfL Wolfsburg 2||GER1|
|Feb 12, 2014||Hoffenheim 2 - VfL Wolfsburg 3||GERC|
|5||Daniel Van Buyten||Defender|
The Brazilian playmaker never wanted to return to Wolfsburg after helping Atletico Madrid win the Europa League last spring, but he has been in exceptional form this season and is likely to be rewarded with a new contract as a result. His five Bundesliga goals are second to Bas Dost and he leads the side with five assists.
A pre-season ankle injury allowed Mario Mandzukic to take his place at the fulcrum of the attack, and once the Croatian began to thrive in the role Gomez was relegated to the outskirts of the squad. Nevertheless he has vowed to fight for his place at Bayern and will likely get a rare start against Wolfsburg on Saturday. He has only three Bundesliga goals so far this season.
Wolfsburg have managed only a single goal in each of their last three matches—not the sort of offensive form you want to bring into a match against free-scoring Bayern Munich. Heynckes will deploy a weakened squad on Friday, but it should still be enough to earn the three points with relative comfort.