Preview: FC Bayern vs. Hertha Berliner Sport-ClubBy: phil | March 15th, 2012
In Week 26 of the 2011-2012 Bundesliga season. FC Bayern supporters are certainly feeling a bit better than we were at this point last week; before the past 2 matches, we barely treading water in the Bundesliga and looking down the barrel of a first-leg deficit in Champions League play. But back-to-back 7-goal explosions, combined with a Dortmund draw last week, have put us back in the hunt for multiple trophies. All the same, we’re still 5 points back in the 1. Bundesliga table, so dropping points this weekend would be a huge problem.
Although we went into the last match with 3 guys nursing possible injuries, all 3 ended up able to play, and all performed well. Rafinha, still getting over the effects of the flu, is doubtful (aside from the fact that he may have lost his spot, now that Alaba and Lahm have demonstrated themselves to be an effective FB pairing).
Bastian Schweinsteiger, coming off his long ankle injury rehab, has come off the bench the last two matches. It would seem he’s finally ready to return to the starting XI. So, either Kroos could start on the bench, or Bastian and Toni could play next to each other, with Gustavo (who was dragging a bit at the end of the first half on Tuesday) might take a rest.
My highly uneducated guess:
I think Kroos and Gustavo will both get a rest – nothing against them, just squad rotation. It’s also possible that Kroos could start up front, but Müller is finally starting to find his form, so I doubt Jupp Heynckes will want to mess with him now.
One of the drawbacks of doing the preview on Thursday is that the club’s official site hasn’t yet put up its little interview with Jupp Heynckes, where he at least gives some hint as to what might be on tap. So if you have any insider info on who might be hurt or who might be returning, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave it in the comments.
Along those same lines: the comment system sucks, I know. It appears I’m not paying attention, I know. But in fact, the new platform is coming together rapidly, and is still on pace for a roll-out before the end of March – possibly as soon as next week. Once that happens, I can guarantee you will either think it’s the greatest thing ever, or you will immediately panic and beg to go back to the old platform. There will be no in-between.
They suck. If you’re in a hurry, scroll forward to the next section.
If you’re not busy, the details: Hertha has been rather poor all year, and manager Markus Babbel was fired over the winter. Replacement Michael Skibbe lasted only five matches (all defeats) before he was let go as well. New manager Otto Rehhagel’s tasks is clear: keep Hertha out of the bottom three. This would require scratching out a lot of draws against more talented clubs, especially those in the top 4, so expect a defensive mindset to the home side this Saturday.
The hell of it is, their roster isn’t that bad. They have ex-Bayern GK Thomas Kraft and middie Andreas Ottl, two guys who couldn’t quite get into the starting line-up in Munich, but who have some ability. They have young striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga, one of the stars of Germany’s U-21 team. They have the Croatian defender Andre Mijatović, a veteran guy who’s not awful. It goes to show, the bottom part of the 1. Bundesliga has gotten really tough – a club can’t just go buy 2 or 3 solid players and figure they’ll grind out enough results to avoid the drop. If you want to stay at the highest levels in German football, you need depth at every position, you need to stay healthy, and you need to bring you’re a-game every week. That’s what makes it a great league, though.
Because I’m in a good mood, you get 7 final thoughts rather than the usual 2 or 3.
- If goal.com is to be believed, Bayern is keen to bring in Hannover veteran Altin Lala. In related news, goal.com should never be believed.
- The draw for the Quarterfinals of the Champions League takes place tomorrow morning (or afternoon, depending on your time zone). If I get up early enough, I’ll do a separate post with a Chat Box. But no promises.
- Reader Vincent had a good comment on one of this week’s threads, and he later expended it over e-mail. In his words, only slightly edited:
“I wanted to take this chance to write about Bayern’s current form … Bayern have been in this same position before, to be more precise in the 2008-2009 UCL campaign. In that year in the first round of the knockout stage we crushed Sporting Clube 12 – 1 on aggregate (an UCL record for a knockout tie that is still unbeaten), winning both legs, 5 – 0 in Lisbon and 7 -1 in the Allianz Arena. Butt, Lahm, DvB, Bastian, Ribbery and Muller were on that team. We thought we were poised for greatness. Then we were paired with Barcelona for the next round, the mood in whole club (and in the stands) was high, we were confident (I would say even arrogant) that we would beat Barcelona (a side that wasn’t even playing to the same level they are today) … Well we were humiliated 4 – 0 in Camp Nou for the first leg, that was the most embarrassing defeat I have faced as a Bayern fan …. Klinsmann was sacked and everybody forgot that we scored 12 past the unfortunate Portuguese and had a trophyless season.
We as fans need to learn the lesson. Lahm, Schweini, Muller and Ribbery need to remember that year and learn the lesson. We can’t let that to happen again. That’s why the players need to leave the arrogance and complacency of the past behind them. Jupp has to keep the players focused, concentrated, humble and grounded to earth. The reality is that we still cannot be considered a force to reckon in Europe. We have crashed miserably (except on our sole Final appearance in Madrid) for the last years and lack the consistency of the true European elite. I still remember the 90s, and the early 00s in those years the Olympiastadion in Munich was one of the most feared venues in European football, all the elite teams were afraid of us, because we were a team that fought, tackled, had tactic order and were ruthless in front of goal week in and week out, not in just 5 or 6 games a year …
Yesterday’s match was really encouraging, but we need more performances like that to keep us in the race. I think we are in a great position to leave the recent past behind us and finally become a true European elite team.”
- The Euro 2012 kit for Die Nationalelf is finally available for sale. Check it out:
I kind of like the diagonal stripes. I wish they were on the back, too. Pretty cool, though.
- Our match is the last one of the day on Saturday – 1:30 Eastern in the USA, 6:30 PM Berlin time. It will be on ESPN Deportes and ESPN 3 in North America, and we’ll be here with a Match Day Chat Box and immediately afterwards with a recap and highlights.
- Wikipedia has the following to say about Berlin’s Olympiastadion:
In 1998, Berliners debated the destiny of the Olympiastadion in light of the legacy it represented for Germany.
Some wanted to tear the stadium down and build a new one from scratch, while others favoured letting it slowly crumble “like the Colosseum in Rome.”
Unfortunately, neither of those sides prevailed. Dammit. They ended up renovating it, and it actually looks very sleek and modern now. Why do all the fun ideas always get shot down?
- Finally, in the unlikely event that anyone has been keeping track, this post marks one year since I first took over this blog. My whole life, I could never even figure out what I was looking for. But the first time I hit “publish,” I knew I had found it. Thanks for reading.
Some Related Bayern Posts:
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