Bayern Munich can take big Bundesliga lead with win at Nurnberg

25 April 2019, Bavaria, Munich: The players of the Bundesliga soccer team FC Bayern Munich run across the training ground. Photo: Sina Schuldt/dpa (Photo by Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2019, Bavaria, Munich: The players of the Bundesliga soccer team FC Bayern Munich run across the training ground. Photo: Sina Schuldt/dpa (Photo by Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images) /

Bayern Munich have the opportunity to take a four-point lead over Borussia Dortmund when they face Nurnberg away from home tomorrow.

It has been a good week for Bayern Munich, who booked their place in the DFB Pokal finals by defeating Werder Bremen 3-2 on Wednesday. Borussia Dortmund slipped up against Schalke earlier today, so Bayern have a chance to take a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table when they face Nurnberg tomorrow.

Niko Kovac was not impressed with his team’s midweek performance against Bremen. Die Roten were cruising in the game after scoring two goals just over the hour mark. However, a few defensive lapses allowed Bremen to come back in the game. Kovac will be hoping his side cuts off such mistakes, as there is no margin for error in the remaining Bundesliga games.

Nurnberg, meanwhile, have endured a horrific league campaign and sit 17th in the league table. They are on the cusp of relegation, unless they somehow manage to win out their remaining games. But it will take an extra-special effort from the hosts to clinch a victory against Bayern Munich tomorrow.

Team News

There was finally some positive news for Arjen Robben this week. The Dutchman trained with the squad after showing good signs in his recovery process. He traveled with the team to Nurnberg, but he is unlikely to play. Franck Ribery will not be available for the game, though, after missing out the last couple of games due to illness.

Manuel Neuer is recovering well from the calf injury he suffered against Fortuna Dusseldorf. The German goalkeeper is targeting a return to action in the game against RB Leipzig. Corentin Tolisso is yet to get some minutes in recent weeks, despite making the match day squads in the last two games. The French midfielder is not yet mentally prepared to return to the pitch after being out of action for more than six months.

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Predicted XI

Niko Kovac is unlikely to make any major changes to the starting lineup that played against Werder Bremen on Wednesday. Sven Ulreich will continue to deputize Neuer in the goal. Niklas Sule will be back in central defense after missing the midweek game due to suspension. Mats Hummels will be the other central defender in the back four. Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will slot into their respective full-back positions.

The midfield composition will remain the same as well, as Kovac is in no mood to rest his key players. Javi Martinez will play at the base of the field and provide the solidity to Bayern’s fragile defense. Thiago Alcantara will partner his compatriot in center of the park, while Thomas Muller will be the most offensive midfielder in the setup.

Kovac has very limited options on the flanks right now. Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry have become a formidable partnership in the absence of Ribery and Robben. These young wingers will definitely start in attack against Nurnberg. Robert Lewandowski will get no breather either, as he will lead the line for Die Roten on Sunday.


Opposition Focus

Nurnberg have the potential to pull off an upset at their home ground. They were able to take points against Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen. The fate of their season is already sealed, so they have nothing to lose — which makes them a very dangerous opposition. Bayern Munich will have a lot of possession, but they need to be more efficient in the final third than they were against Werder Bremen last weekend.

The hosts have struggled to score goals this season as Mikael Ishak and Hanno Behrens remain their top scorers in the league with just four goals. There has been a genuine lack of creativity in midfield for Nurnberg, who struggle to create chances for their forwards. Bayern remain massive favorites for this game, but they still cannot afford even an ounce of complacency.

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Nurnberg 1-3 Bayern Munich

Nurnberg has gone toe-to-toe against many Bundesliga sides at home this season despite sitting in the relegation zone. It will not be an easy game for Bayern, but I expect them to deliver a solid performance on Sunday and take a massive step towards winning the Bundesliga title.