A look ahead to Sunday’s Bundesliga double-header as defending champions Bayern Munich host an unpredictable Hertha Berlin from 5pm BST, after Wolfsburg look to put Thursday’s Europa League heartbreak behind them when hosting Augsburg in the day’s afternoon kick-off.
Wolfsburg vs Augsburg: Wolves seek response after Europa exit
Kick-off time – 2.30pm bst
After a stunning stoppage-time defeat saw their Europa League campaign end in heartbreak on Thursday against AEK Athens, Wolfsburg return to Bundesliga action targeting their first league victory since June 20.
They host an in-form Augsburg with successive victories to start the season – including a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund last week – and will fancy their chances. How will the pair fare during an evenly-matched H2H showdown tomorrow?
Wolfsburg opened the scoring in first-half stoppage-time, through a well-taken Admir Mehmedi finish after Josip Brekalo’s decisive pass across the area. He steered it into the bottom corner with aplomb, but the warning signs were already there before the Swiss international’s strike.
Xavier Schlager was penalised for a clumsy challenge on Nenad Krsticic in the area, from which Petros Mantalos had his penalty saved by Pavao Pervan. André Simoes levelled the scoring midway through the second-half with a screamer from distance, arrowing into the top corner.
Karim Ansarifard, brought on just minutes earlier, skipped past Maxence Lacroix and steered a low effort beyond a rooted Pervan – sparking wild celebrations from the hosts.
A crushing blow with essentially the final kick of the game, Wolfsburg will be hurting after that result and Oliver Glasner is expected to rotate accordingly here.
Felix Klaus and Daniel Ginczek were among their unused substitutes in Athens and alongside John Brooks, the trio could be recalled to the starting eleven on Sunday.
By contrast – Augsburg had just 20% possession and six shots, yet managed to stifle title challengers Dortmund at home last week.
Will they manage to prove it wasn’t just a freak result with another disciplined display, both defensively and in attack this weekend?
Augsburg need another inspired showing from new signing Daniel Caligiuri (one goal, one assist) and others besides if they’re to record three consecutive victories. The H2H is split down the middle (both teams have six wins, six draws in 18 meetings), so this could be another tight one.
Wolfsburg: Pervan; Klaus, Brooks, Guilavogui, Otavio; Arnold, Gerhardt, Mehmedi; Brekalo, Weghorst, Steffen.
Augsburg: Gikiewicz; Iago, Uduokhai, Gouweleeuw, Framberger; Oxford, Gruezo; Hahn, Caligiuri, Niederlechner; Finnbogason.
Bayern vs Hertha Berlin: Bavarians in an unfamiliar situation
kick-off time – 5pm bst
After their frantic finish to secure the German Supercup in midweek, Bayern look to bounce back from a Bundesliga defeat for the first time this year on Sunday at home to Hertha Berlin.
It rather speaks volumes as far as their dominance is concerned, that a defeat is a serious surprise, especially a 4-1 away loss to Hoffenheim.
However, fatigue and squad rotation played a part after their UEFA Super Cup exertions three days prior – so how will they respond with an extra day’s rest, having clinched their fifth trophy of 2020 on Wednesday?
Hertha Berlin were punished for a wasteful display at home to Frankfurt last time out, but know they can’t afford to miss chances at the Allianz Arena this weekend.
Bayern relinquished a two-goal cushion but still managed to come through unscathed against Borussia Dortmund in Wednesday’s German Supercup clash.
With David Alaba, Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sane among those not involved, Hansi Flick’s men raced to a 2-0 lead in the first-half without being on top gear.
Dortmund rallied to equalise and would’ve been ahead if not for wasteful finishing and a big Manuel Neuer save, thwarting Erling Haaland.
Joshua Kimmich displayed his impressive versatility once more, operating in a creative midfield role to good effect – creating and scoring their late winner.
What do Hertha Berlin take from that midweek result? They can’t afford to snatch at goalscoring opportunities or give Neuer any chance of saving their shots, that’s for sure.
With more shots (12, six on target), completed passes and dribbles against Eintracht Frankfurt, they left empty-handed – them missing three big chances proving pivotal.
In 18 previous H2H meetings, Hertha possess just one win – a 2-0 victory two years ago – all three players involved in their goals have since departed for pastures new.
Bayern are clearly favourites, but Flick will remind them of last week’s result and must warn against complacency here. This clash has goals written all over it – with Matheus Cunha and a goal-hungry Lewandowski in tow.
Bayern: Neuer; Davies, Hernandez, Boateng, Pavard; Tolisso, Kimmich, Goretzka; Muller, Lewandowski, Gnabry.
Hertha: Schwolow; Mittelstadt, Torunarigha, Boyata, Pekarik; Darida, Stark, Tousart; Lukebakio, Cordoba, Cunha.
Pictures’ source: AP, Getty Images