Bayern Munich’s return to the Bundesliga season wasn’t as memorable as they would’ve envisioned and their immediate goal would be to return to winning ways as soon as possible. They will have the opportunity to do just that in front of their own fans at the Allianz Arena in Munich when they take on FC Koln on Tuesday night.
Upon their return to league action for the first time since the FIFA World Cup break, Julian Nagelsmann’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by RB Leipzig in their most recent encounter. Meanwhile, FC Koln taught Werder Bremen, who are above them on the Bundesliga table, a lesson in football and hammered them 7-1 last weekend.
RB Leipzig ended up frustrating their former manager Julian Nagelsmann, now in charge of Bayern Munich, as they dug deep and pushed Bayern to their limit. The match ended with Leipzig holding the defending German champions to a low-scoring draw at the Red Bull Arena on Friday night. Thanks to their efforts, they managed to put a stop to Bayern’s 10-game winning run across all competitions which also involved them being trigger-happy in front of goal.
Eric Maxim Choupo Moting – who has been an unexpected but major success story for Bayern this season – put his side ahead just before the half-time break. However, the Bavarians struggled in front of the goal and failed to increase their advantage. They were made to regret by left-back Marcel Halstenburg who equalized proceedings in the 52nd minute to ensure that points would be shared between the two teams at the end of the night.
Despite dropping points for the sixth match, Bayern Munich still possess an unassailable lead at the top of the Bundesliga table. They have a five-point advantage over Eintracht Frankfurt, Union Berlin and SC Freiburg in the top four. Nagelsmann’s side have collected 35 points from 16 games, boasting 10 wins. The defending champions also have the best record in front of goal, scoring on a whopping 50 occasions and have conceded the least number of goals at 14.
Choupo-Moting’s strike against Leipzig marked Bayern’s 50th goal of the 2022-23 Bundesliga season, as Nagelsmann’s side had scored at least twice in eight successive league games before Friday, although one would expect such a ruthless streak to return once the cobwebs have been dusted off.
Heading into the home game against FC Koln, Bayern possess a mean streak at home. They haven’t been defeated at the Allianz Arena in over a year. All of their last four home games in the league have ended in victories – remarkably scoring at least four goals each time and notching six against Mainz and Werder Bremen.
There’s no doubt that FC Koln are in seventh heaven right now after they handed out a lesson in football to Werder Bremen in their previous league encounter and played them out of the park. Head coach Steffen Baumgart was a happy man on the sidelines as he witnessed his side tearing into the opposition on Sunday.
It took only 36 minutes for Koln to put the game beyond the reach of the opposition. Steffen Tigges and Ellyes Skhiri both grabbed braces in this game while Linton Maina, Denis Huseinbasic also got on the scoresheet and an own goal from Marco Friedl completed the misery for Bremen who also scored the most inconsequential game through Niclas Fullkrug in the 38th minute. By that point in the game, Koln had already put five goals past them.
Over the course of the winter friendly matches that took place during the FIFA World Cup break, Baumgart’s side had developed a knack for scoring goals and being prolific in the final third of the pitch. However, with that being said, few could’ve imagined the kind of hammering that they would hand out to Werder Bremen at the RheinEnergieSTADION.
Thanks to that demolition job, they are now 11th in the league table with five wins from 16 matches. Koln are still a long way off the European spots in the standings and they are eight points behind Borussia Dortmund in the European Conference League playoff spot.
Prior to the emphatic success on Saturday, Koln had put up four losses and a draw from their five pre-World Cup Bundesliga matches, but Fullkrug’s strike last time out made it 12 games without a Bundesliga clean sheet for the Billy Goats.
The last time these two sides faced each other, Bayern Munich could only scrape past Koln 3-2 at the Allianz Arena in the 2021-22 season, but the Bavarians have now posted nine successive wins over the Billy Goats, whose most recent win over the reigning Bundesliga champions came all the way back in February 2011.
BAY vs KOL, Bundesliga 2022/23
Date: 25th January, 2023
Time: 1:00 AM IST
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich
Bayern Munich Bundesliga form:
Bayern Munich form (all competitions):
FC Koln Bundesliga form:
FC Koln form (all competitions):
Bayern Munich wins: 23
FC Koln wins: 4
Bayern Munich Team News:
Bayern Munich’s custodian in goal Manuel Neuer will miss the remainder of the campaign and the Bavarians were quick to sign Yann Sommer as an emergency need during the winter transfer window. The Swiss goalkeeper made his debut in between the sticks against RB Leipzig. He will be expecting a similar backline to the one that started against Leipzig.
Noussair Mazraoui and Lucas Hernandez continue to be absent but Dayot Upamecano should be fit to start here despite failing to complete training on Monday. Upamecano is expected to partner Matthijs de Ligt at the heart of the defence while Benjamin Pavard is expected to slot in place of Mazraoui.
Sadio Mane, who had to miss the World Cup campaign with Senegal due to a leg injury, is also expected to miss action until the next month while Bouna Sarr could potentially return to team training from a troublesome tendon injury at the end of the month, but he will miss out once again here.
Veteran Thomas Muller has largely been restricted to a secondary role so far this season. He is expected to start on the bench once again as 19-year-old Jamal Musiala continues to shine bright and impress at every opportunity. Against Leipzig, he came on in the 68th minute but Nagelsmann might opt to start with Musiala in the number 10 role here.
FC Koln Team News:
As far as Koln are concerned, Ellyes Skhiri, who grabbed a brace of goals in the demolition of Werder Bremen last weekend, was forced off with an ankle injury nearly 20 minutes after the half-time restart. The extent of the damage to his ankle remains unclear but regardless, he is expected to face a race against time to be fit for this clash and Baumgart might opt for caution instead.
Skhiri is joined in a well-occupied treatment room by Mark Uth, Kristian Pedersen, Luca Kilian, Jan Thielmann, Sebastian Andersson and Florian Dietz, and Baumgart has also lost centre-back Timo Hubers due to sickness – Nikola Soldo should deputise as a result.
Should Skhiri’s ankle issue render him unavailable for Tuesday, either Dejan Ljubicic or Mathias Olesen should deputise in the engine room alongside Eric Martel.
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Pavard, Upamecano, De Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Musiala, Gnabry; Choupo-Moting
FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Schwabe; Schmitz, Soldo, Chabot, Hector; Maina, Skhiri, Martel, Kainz; Tigges, Huseinbasic
Facing a firm and daunting Bayern Munich backline at the Allianz Arena is a completely different challenge from taking on an out-of-sorts Werder Bremen and FC Koln will be stupid to think that they can just waltz in here and take all three points following the highs of their previous win. However, the clinical edge that they have shown in front of goal since last December may work in favour of them as they look to upset the title favourites.
With that being said, Koln have been struggling with their backline as well and Skhiri’s injury could prove to be a deal breaker. All things taken into consideration, it will be a surprise if Bayern Munich don’t return to winning ways here.