Bayern Munich gear up for pivotal DFB Pokal clash against Heidenheim

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 01: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) The team of FC Bayern Muenchen warms up during a training session at the club's Saebener Strasse training ground on April 01, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern)
MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 01: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) The team of FC Bayern Muenchen warms up during a training session at the club's Saebener Strasse training ground on April 01, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern) /

Bayern Munich prepare to host FC Heidenheim in the quarterfinals of the DFB Pokal with one eye ahead on this weekend’s Klassiker.

It is a make or break week for Bayern Munich in both of their domestic competitions. After a poor result against Freiburg this past weekend, they can quickly bounce back in their DFB Pokal quarterfinal clash against Heidenheim tomorrow. Die Roten will be hosting the Bundesliga 2 side at Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

Bayern have not won the DFB Pokal in either of their last two seasons. They have struggled in almost every cup game this season as well, including their games against minnows Drochtersen/Assel and Rodinghausen. They were also dragged to extra time in their round of 16 clash against Hertha Berlin. Niko Kovac expressed his anger and disappointment with Bayern’s performance on Saturday, so he will be hoping his players react properly on Wednesday.

FC Heidenheim, meanwhile, are enduring a pretty average season in the 2. Bundesliga. They have, however, delivered some impressive performances in the German cup. Heidenheim secured a solid victory against Bayer Leverkusen in the previous round, but Wednesday’s challenge will be even bigger. The visitors will be looking to put up a strong fight at the Allianz Arena, despite the odds being completely against them

Team News

Bayern Munich will be without some key players for the game against Heidenheim. Manuel Neuer is still recovering from a calf injury, so he is unlikely to feature tomorrow. Arjen Robben is still in the dark about his return date as he continues to work hard to play a few games in his final two months in Bavaria.

David Alaba and Alphonso Davies are also still recovering from minor injuries. Niko Kovac is unlikely to risk them on Wednesday, considering Der Klassiker is looming at the weekend. Corentin Tolisso is on the right track to complete his recovery very soon, but he’ll just miss out on tomorrow’s match.

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Predicted XI

This game gives Niko Kovac an ideal chance to give playing time to some of his fringe players. Sven Ulreich will definitely start against Heidenheim in the absence of Neuer. Niklas Sule will also return to the starting lineup and partner Mats Hummels in the heart of defense. Joshua Kimmich and Rafinha are likely to be the full-backs for Bayern on Wednesday.

Renato Sanches is likely to get a rare start in this game. The Portuguese international has grown frustrated with his lack of playing time this season which might eventually force his departure in the summer. Kovac still sees the future of the Portuguese midfielder at Bayern, and the Croat will be hoping his player grabs his chance with both hands. Javi Martinez will likely partner Sanches in the center of the pitch.

Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for the home side tomorrow. The Polish striker will be supported by James Rodriguez, as the Colombian will play in his favored number ten role. Franck Ribery might get a start in this game on the left flank, while Serge Gnabry is likely to play on the opposite side.


Opposition Focus

Heidenheim will have to play out of their skin in order to beat Bayern at the Allianz Arena. The hosts struggled to finish their chances on Saturday, but they were relentless in their attack against Freiburg — especially in the second half. Heidenheim will have to weather a similar onslaught on Wednesday and try to create an opportunity to score late in the game.

Niklas Dorsch will return to the Allianz Arena with a point to prove after leaving Bayern for Heidenheim last season. Mark Schnatterer will be a key player in midfield for the visitor as the German has scored nine goals in the second division. Robert Glatzel, meanwhile, has scored 12 goals for Heidenheim. The German striker is the focal point of their attack, and he has been adequately supported by Nikola Dovedan and Denis Thomalla in the final third.

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Bayern Munich 3-1 Heidenheim

Bayern Munich had some narrow wins in the German cup earlier this season, but I think Die Roten will deliver a convincing performance on Wednesday. Heidenheim could still get a consolation goal, though, as Bayern’s defense is still struggling to keep consecutive clean sheets.