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Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin preview, details, team news and prediction

Bayern Munich side will host Union Berlin at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday as they look to bounce back from their defeat to Werder Bremen last Sunday.

Leroy Sane

A disappointed Bayern Munich side will host Union Berlin at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday as they look to bounce back from their defeat to Werder Bremen last Sunday.

Bayern faced an unprecedented defeat against Bremen, marking their first loss since 2008 with a 1-0 outcome at the Allianz Arena, courtesy of Mitchell Weiser’s second-half strike. Thomas Tuchel adhered mostly to the lineup from the prior week’s 3-0 triumph over Hoffenheim. Manuel Neuer, making his 501st Bayern appearance, anchored the goalkeeping position behind a defensive quartet comprising Konrad Laimer, Dayot Upamecano, Matthijs de Ligt, and Alphonso Davies. The midfield duo featured Joshua Kimmich and Raphael Guerreiro, flanked by Kingsley Coman, replacing Thomas Müller, alongside Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane. Harry Kane spearheaded the offensive and those who managed to get hold of Bayern Munich tickets to attend the game fully expected a home win.

The initial period adhered to expectations, with Bayern dictating possession and seeking openings while Werder Bremen focused on counterattacks. Notably, Werder’s transitions, utilizing Justin Njinmah’s pace, posed the most significant threat. Sane tested Michael Zetterer’s goalkeeping skills, and Neuer exhibited a remarkable save to deny a deflected shot from Weiser, a product of Bayern’s youth system. In a near-scoring opportunity, Njinmah penetrated Bayern’s defence just before the half-hour mark, slotting the ball past Neuer, only for the goal to be disallowed due to Jens Stage’s earlier foul on Musiala. Upamecano’s attempt forced Zetterer into a low save, encapsulating Bayern’s limited first-half opportunities.

Harry Kane experienced a subdued first half but initiated the second half with a notable rising shot from the edge of the box. Werder Bremen found the net for a second time just before the hour mark, with Mitchell Weiser’s goal standing this time. Weiser collected a crossfield ball, manoeuvred past Alphonso Davies, and unleashed a high shot over Manuel Neuer, securing Bremen’s lead.

Manager Thomas Tuchel responded with attacking substitutions, introducing Thomas Müller, Mathys Tel, Leon Goretzka, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Tel came closest to equalizing, with his header miraculously saved by Zetterer, who deflected the ball onto the woodwork and then cleared it. Despite these efforts, Bayern’s relentless Bundesliga home goal streak ended at 65 games. The outcome positions the champions with 41 points from 17 matches, trailing league leaders Bayer Leverkusen by seven points but with a game in hand, scheduled against Union Berlin on Wednesday.

Union Berlin’s Matchday 18 encounter with Mainz faced postponement due to severe wintry conditions. The accumulation of ice, particularly in the stands, created hazardous footing for spectators, deeming Mainz’s MEWA Arena unsafe. A future date for rescheduling the Matchday 18 fixture is anticipated.

However, they did play out a goalless draw against Freiburg in their last Bundesliga game.

Freiburg dominated the early stages, displaying more vigour and prompting excitement among the crowd. In the 11th minute, Roland Sallai received a well-placed pass from Maximilian Eggestein but skewed his shot wide, flagged offside by the assistant referee. Despite no goal, the stadium atmosphere was rekindled. Union Berlin emerged with notable chances in the 65th minute, as Janik Haberer’s shot was blocked, and Jérome Roussillon’s subsequent header was comfortably saved by Noah Atubolu. Though Union ventured forward, they failed to pose a genuine threat to Freiburg’s goal.

In the 78th minute, Andras Schäfer’s long-range attempt went wide. The match opened up in the final stages, with Union Berlin showing increased attacking intent. However, Freiburg had a notable opportunity to secure victory. After a corner, Röhl received the ball in the box, but his shot on the turn went straight to Rönnow in the Union goal. Union’s coach, Nenad Bejlica, acknowledged Freiburg’s strong performance, stating that a Freiburg win would have been deserved. The game concluded in a draw during the five minutes of added time, with both teams attempting to pressure their opponents with long, high balls into the penalty area.

Union now enter the upcoming fixture in a resurgent state, marking a turnaround from their challenging commencement, leading to the departure of legendary coach Urs Fischer due to the club’s worst results streak. Nenad Bjelica assumed the reins, achieving as many points in four games as Union garnered in their initial 12 matches. A crucial victory against Koln before the winter break elevated Union from the relegation zone, and they sustained momentum with a commendable 0-0 draw against formidable Freiburg in their recent away encounter.

Despite concluding a six-game Bundesliga losing streak on away grounds, Union Berlin’s goal drought in the league persisted, tallying nine scoreless outings in 16 matches – a league-high statistic. Nenad Bjelica seeks to enhance their away performances, having secured only one victory in 14 away fixtures, notably against bottom-placed Darmstadt in August. A triumph at the Allianz Arena holds significant importance for Berlin, potentially propelling them above Bochum and creating a six-point buffer from the relegation zone.

Bayern Munich v Union Berlin Match details

Date: Wednesday, 24 Jan, 2024

KO time: 19:30 UTC

Location: Berlin, Germany

Venue: Allianz Arena

Team News

Bayern returned to Bundesliga action after spending a week on a training camp in Faro on the Portuguese coast. If recent results are parameters to judge the severity of the training, then it is normal to describe it as disastrous following their loss to Werder Bremen.

Before the game, Matthijs De Ligt and Dayot Upamecano were feared to be injured but both featured in the loss against Bremen on Sunday.

While Kim Min-Jae is away with South Korea for the Asian Cup, both De Light and Upamecano could retain their places if they pass fitness tests.

New arrival, Eric Dier could fast-track his involvement in the team if either of the aforementioned duo fails to pass fitness tests.

Noussair Mazraoui remains absent as he’s currently participating in the African Cup of Nations with Morocco.

Serge Gnabry remains the only notable absentee as he’s facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a tendon injury.

Having netted his 22nd goal against Hoffenheim, Harry Kane is one goal away from breaking Robert Lewandowski’s goal record for most goals at the midway point of a campaign.

In the absence of Sheraldo Becker who completed a move to Spanish Laliga side, Real Sociedad and the departure of David Datro Fofana, who is now with Premier League side, Burnley, Mikkel Kaufmann earned his first start for Union Berlin, having joined from Copenhagen in the summer.

However, Union faced challenges in the midfield with Rani Khedira sidelined due to injury and Aissa Laidouni participating in the Africa Cup of Nations with Tunisia. Following Leonardo Bonucci’s departure for Fenerbahce, Kevin Vogt joined from Hoffenheim to fill the void, making his debut against Freiburg last week.

Predicted starting line-up 

Bayern Munich predicted starting lineup:

Neuer; Laimer, Upamecano, De Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka Musiala; Coman, Sane; Kane

Union Berlin predicted starting lineup:

Ronnow; Knoche, Vogt, Diogo Leite; Juranovic, Kral, Aaronson, Gosens; Haberer, Kaufmann, Volland

Prediction

Bayern Munich will be bitter after losing to Werder Bremen last Sunday, an opponent they’ve only tasted defeat against once in the last 27 encounters.

With Bayer Leverkusen leading the Bundesliga charts with a whopping 7-point gap, The Bavarians will ensure not to let any more points slip and a heavy victory over Union Berlin is on the cards.

Although one would assume Bayern’s title hopes are over, last season’s clinching of the title on the last day should give the Bavarians hope that it’s never over until the last whistle, of the last minute, of the last matchday in the Bundesliga.

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