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Preview: Bayern Munich

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Manufacturing goals in the German tradition, for domestic consumption and for export.

Updated: 2017-12-15T20:06:07+01:00


Ulreich sets the record straight about his transfer from Stuttgart


Prior to his first start against Stuttgart in a Bayern uniform, Sven clarifies what happened during his switch to Munich Sven Ulreich returned to team practice this week after a short layoff with minor adductor issues, and is expected to slide back into the starting lineup again, replacing wanna-be retiree Tom Starke, who jumped in for two solid performances. It comes just in time to face the club that Sven joined when he was a wee lad of only ten years of age, progressing to the starting keeper from 2008 to 2015. This will mark the first time the former VfB Stuttgart player will face his “Herzensklub” — “club of his heart” — at his old stomping grounds. He was the backup to Manuel Neuer in 2016 in the season after his transfer, and VfB was playing in the second division last season. On this occasion, he felt that he needed to set a couple of things straight during an interview with Stuttgarter Nachrichten. Hunting for glory (and money)? When it was first announced that Ulreich was moving to FC Bayern Munich, most people were surprised. He was, after all, the starter at his club, in the prime of his career, and was moving to a spot on the bench at his new club, behind undisputed number one, Neuer. The assumption was that he was looking for a big payday, and was willing to sacrifice playing time for money and titles. VfB Stuttgart fueled those assumptions, stating that Sven had asked for a transfer, wanting to be released from his contract that had two more years to run. “I didn’t want to leave” When asked what he hoped for in his return to Mercedes-Benz Arena, he naturally answered that he wanted three points, only to add that he would also like a “friendly reception from the Stuttgart audience.” When reminded that he was more likely to receive whistles than applause, as is usual when a player leaves to go to big, bad Bayern, he acknowledged that, but wanted to “set the record straight about a few things” regarding his transfer. Back in 2015, he was told by the sport director — Robin Dutt, at that time — that the club was looking to go in a different direction. I was asked whether I would be interested in looking around for something new. That was a clear sign. Only after that did I get active [in looking for a new club]. I never pushed for a transfer — but that’s how it was portrayed to the public by VfB, which is why I caught a lot of negative comments from VfB-fans on the web. The move was two and a half years ago, why didn’t he say something then? Ulreich didn’t want to cause any anxiety at the club where he started his career, but now felt that “it was time to present things the way they actually happened.” No hard feelings Does he still harbor a grudge over how things went down? “Not at all, I’ve moved on from it.” says the 29-year old, “I grew up at VfB, it’s still the club of my heart [Herzenklub], my family and I built a house in Stuttgart. I will always have close ties to the city and the club, especially since I will live in Stuttgart once my career is over.” Will these revelations actually produce a friendlier reception for VfB Stuttgart’s prodigal son than would normally be expected for someone who “betrayed” the hometown fans? We’ll have to tune in on Saturday to find out, but at the very least, it shows that Sven Ulreich is a bigger man than most, taking the high road by choosing not to start a war of words with the club, which he obviously still holds dear to his heart. Here’s to grabbing a win with his current club, keeping a clean sheet, all while receiving the earned respect from the home fans. [...]

Preview: Bayern Munich wraps up the Hinrunde in Stuttgart


The final matchday of the Hinrunde is upon us: Bayern Munich will travel to VfB Stuttgart to take on the plucky Swabians. Bayern hope by winning to head into the new year with a double-digit lead atop the Bundesliga table. The team currently holds a 9-point lead over second-place Schalke. Stuttgart meanwhile have lost their last three games and fallen to 14th place. Heynckes: striking the right balance Bayern’s head coach Jupp Heynckes must choose a lineup that will strike the right balance, gently guiding convalescent players back to full fitness while pushing others to maintain momentum. Kingsley Coman is one of those crucial players. Franck Ribery has just returned from injury, and Heynckes would prefer to rest the veteran winger. But Coman has been struggling with hip flexor problems and may not be able to play. Heynckes will decide on short notice whether his “extremely sensitive racehorse” is ready to run. Arjen Roben, unfortunately, will not return until the new year. Heynckes wants the Dutch winger to return pain-free. Left-back Juan Bernat, meanwhile, has fully recovered from his muscular issues and is ready to play. Here is what the rest of the lineup might look like: Jerome Boateng is likely to make way for a healthy Mats Hummels, while youngster Niklas Süle shifts over to his spot on the right. Joshua Kimmich will return to the starting lineup at right-back. David Alaba should be able to continue at left-back, but it is possible that Heynckes rotates him out for Bernat. In the midfield, Javi Martinez should return to his customary position ahead of the center-backs, while Arturo Vidal may receive a second chance, after he was subbed out after the first half on Wednesday. Up front, James Rodriguez and Thomas Müller will work their dark magic behind Robert Lewandowski. VfB Stuttgart hopes to prevent not-so-sweet 16th straight loss to Bayern Where to begin ... ah, here is a good place that puts everything into immediate perspective: VfB — finally relegated last season after regularly flirting with it, but earned immediate promotion — has lost 15 straight matches to Bayern in all competitions, including a 3-2 loss in the 2013 DFB-Pokal final that clinched the treble for the Bavarians. Bayern has scored at least 2 goals in 14 of its last 15 matches against Stuttgart in all competitions. The Swabians are a goal-challenged team, so they can not afford to chase a goal most matches, let alone the multiple goals full-flying Bayern is capable of scoring against them. Here is the likely VfB lineup that will try and slow down Bayern (yes, Stuttgart really needs to break out the black kits) Versatile Benjamin Pavard could start as a right wing-back again in this 3-4-2-1, and his play has been a real bright spot for VfB and helped the 21-year-old earn his first senior caps for France in November. Chadrac Akolo (rib injury) is out, which means Berkay Özcan and Josip Brekalo could start in attacking midfield again. Anastasios Donis is out with a muscle injury, so look for Takuma Asano to lead the line for Stuttgart, which has only scored 13 goals in 16 Budesliga matches this season. Captain and midfielder Christian Gentner and former Bayern defender Holger Badstuber give VfB some veteran spine in the center of midfield and defense. VfB has been in good home form this season (5-1-1 at Mercedes-Benz Arena), including a win over Borussia Dortmund. [...]

Rumor Roundup: Bayern Munich chasing some talented wingers?


It’s about time we bought one. Nothing lasts forever, and FC Bayern Munich knows this all to well. It’s no secret that Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are getting on a bit, and everyone can see that Bayern’s ‘Robbery’ duo aren’t what they used to be. The current season may well be their last. So what will the club do when they’re gone? It isn’t easy to find replacements for generational talents, but the Bavarians will have to step up to the plate if they want to continue being regarded amongst Europe’s elite. Kingsley Coman has already stepped up to the plate this season, having recorded an impressive three goals and five assists in 791 minutes since being given a prominent role under Jupp Heynckes. However Coman is only half the answer. Who else are the Bavarians looking at? These are some reports in the media, hinting at Bayern’s possible targets in the transfer market. As with all rumors featuring the Bavarians, take these reports with a grain of salt. #1: Florian Thauvin - Olympique de Marseille Age: 24 Nationality: French Source: L'Equipe An exciting but somewhat underrated prospect, Florian Thauvin has been setting Ligue 1 alight. With 8 goals and 8 assists so far in this campaign, the young Frenchman averages a goal or assist every 90 minutes of league play. This comes on the back of a strong showing in 2016/17, where Thauvin recorded 15 goals and 9 assists in 2,976 minutes. Here are some of his stats from that season: Florian Thauvin - Ligue 1 16/17 [for @ThatGuyVaris]— Football Radars (@FussballRadars) May 22, 2017 TV/Streaming: USA (Fox Sports 1 USA, Univision Deportes USA, FOX Soccer Match Pass, fuboTV,FOX Sports GO), Germany (Sky Sport Bundesliga 1, Sky Go Deutschland, Sky Sport Bundesliga 2), Canada (Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet Now) Full Listings: Your country (via Tips for commenting: If you’re a new member, feel free to introduce yourself. Don’t feel pressured or anything, we’re mostly very friendly. Also, we’re from all parts of the world so don’t feel shy if you’re from a country that doesn’t seem represented on the blog. Refresh the page regularly to keep up with the discussion. One refresh every 55-60 seconds is ideal but if that’s too much then just try for one every five minutes and after every goal. The goal celebrations are for everyone to participate in. Even if you’re lagging behind the others, keep replying to the most recent call of the player’s name. Even if you missed the first call, just start from the second, and so on. Check out our beginners thread if you have any more questions. That’s about it. Auf geht’s! Looking for an unending well of Bayern Munich content? Sign up for an SBNation account and join the conversation on Bavarian Football Works. Whether it's full match coverage and analysis, breaking news or something completely different, we have it all. [...]