Bayern at surprising Augsburg in the Bundesliga
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola is unlikely to experiment when Bayern visits Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Augsburg was the first team to beat Bayern after it had secured the Bundesliga title last season with seven games to spare. Bayern fielded several rarely used players in April and fell to a 1-0 defeat that ended its 53-match unbeaten run.
This season, Augsburg is the surprise package and sits third, although it is already 12 points behind Bayern.
Bayern is undefeated this season with 11 wins and three draws. Augsburg is the only team without a draw.
Here are a few things to know about this weekend’s matches:
Augsburg’s 39-year-old coach, Markus Weinzierl, spent four seasons playing for Bayern’s reserves in the late 1990s and remains on good terms with his old club.
He’s hoping for another upset.
“It would be normal for Bayern to win. But what is normal this year in the Bundesliga? We are going to do all we can to create another sensation,” Weinzierl said. “To get a draw or to win against Bayern you need a lot of luck. We have to play above our means and Bayern must have a below-par performance.”
SCHWEINSTEIGER IS BACK
Bastian Schweinsteiger played his first full match since the World Cup final in Bayern’s 3-0 victory over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Schweinsteiger injured his knee in May against Stuttgart and nearly missed the World Cup because of that, but instead he was one of the stars of Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina in the final.
“I am just happy to be playing football before the end of the year,” Schweinsteiger said after an inspired performance against Moscow that earned him Man of the Match honors.
“The last time I played in our stadium was seven months ago,” Schweinsteiger said. “The big matches come after the winter break.”
KRAMER TO LEAVE
Christoph Kramer, who was in Germany’s World Cup squad but couldn’t remember much of the final after getting a concussion, has announced that he intends to leave Borussia Moenchengladbach and return to Bayer Leverkusen.
The timing of the announcement irritated some in Moenchengladbach, since it came ahead of Sunday’s match between the two clubs.
Kramer has been on loan to Moenchengladbach since 2013 and Leverkusen has said it wants him back as of next season. Moenchengladbach also wanted to keep him.
“He belongs to Leverkusen and he has a contract there,” Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre. “We know that he won’t be here much longer.”
Timo Hildebrand may get another Bundesliga comeback, as back-up for the back-up.
Eintracht Frankfurt signed Hildebrand, who was without a club, in September when first-choice goalkeeper Kevin Trapp injured his knee.
Hildebrand, a former Germany ’keeper, has been backing up Felix Wiedwald and has not played. Wiedwald has been in excellent form but is out for four weeks with mononucleosis and Hildebrand is expected to be in goal on Friday in Hoffenheim, where he played between 2008 and 2010.
Trapp returned to training this week but coach Thomas Schaaf said Friday’s match may be too early for a comeback.