Thursday, Dec 18, 2014

Wounded Bayern Munich take on VfL Wolfsburg in Bundesliga opener

Bayern are far from their best as several key players missing from the line up. (Source: Reuters) Bayern are far from their best as several key players are missing from the line up. (Source: Reuters)
By: Reuters | Berlin | Posted: August 22, 2014 1:15 am | Updated: August 22, 2014 10:10 am

VfL Wolfsburg are ready to take advantage of an injury-weakened Bayern Munich when they face last season’s domestic double winners in the Bundesliga kickoff Friday. Bayern have had a difficult pre-season, losing a string of players to injury forcing club bosses to review their transfer options and Wolfsburg are eyeing an opportunity.

“We are going into this game with the best possible attitude and when they show any sign of weakness then we want to be right there,” Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking said. “We should not make ourselves smaller than we actually are.

But we will need a really good day to get Bayern into trouble.” Hecking knows only too well that after Wolfsburg’s spending spree which saw the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Josuha Guilavogui and Aaron Hunt arrive at the club during the summer, expectations are higher than last season.

The Volkswagen-owned club will be chasing a Champions League spot this time to improve on last season’s fifth place. A surprise result in Munich would be the best possible statement of intent. The champions are without holding midfielder Javi Martinez, out for the rest of the year with a torn cruciate ligament, as well as suspended Jerome Boateng.

With captain Philipp Lahm in midfield, coach Pep Guardiola will have to rebuild his entire backline with Brazilian Dante and Holger Badstuber set to come in. “Wolfsburg are dangerous and have brought in a lot of potential,” Badstuber, who could make his comeback after 18 months and two consecutive torn cruciate ligaments.

Robben doubtful for opener

Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben is doubtful for the Bundesliga season opener against VfL Wolfsburg due to lack of match practice, coach Pep Guardiola said on Thursday.

The Dutchman joined the team later than some of his team mates after the Netherlands’ run to the World Cup third place last month and did not play for the Bavarians in the German Super and German Cup last week.

“Arjen is fully fit but he has not yet played. We will see tomorrow how the situation is with him,” Guardiola told reporters. “But Arjen is a professional, one of the best I have seen.” Bayern, domestic double champions last season, have several big name absences with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery and Javi Martinez among them.

“Franck was injured for two or three weeks. He still needs time. For tomorrow I have to see which player is in the best possible form and only then will I decide who will play,” said Guardiola. “We are not in an ideal situation but I will not complain.”

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