Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich: Bundesliga Matchday One Preview

Bayern Munich travel to Werder Bremen on matchday one of Bundesliga 2023/24 campaign. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)
Bayern Munich travel to Werder Bremen on matchday one of Bundesliga 2023/24 campaign. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images) /
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Matchweek 1 of the Bundesliga is finally upon us. As a tradition, defending champions Bayern Munich will open their quest for a 12th consecutive Bundesliga title away from the Allianz Arena as they are set to face off against Werder Bremen on Friday. Let us look at how both teams will set up for this game.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich will look to get back to winning ways following the embarrassing defeat to RB Leipzig in the DFB Super Cup last weekend. A performance in which their defensive frailties again came to the surface. Despite creating numerous scoring opportunities, the Bavarians proved they are likely to be in a fight for the Bundesliga crown. As matchday one kicks off in Bremen, Bayern have the opportunity to set the pace for the Bundesliga season.

Until Bayern can sort out the goalkeeping situation, Sven Ulreich remains the only goalkeeper with experience in the squad. Tuchel will have to rely on Ulreich until the decision is made to either fully replace Manuel Neuer, or continue the search for a short-term solution.

Across the backline, both Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs de Ligt were pulled off at halftime of the Super Cup and replaced by Noussari Mazraoui (for Pavard) and summer signing Kim Min-jae (for de Ligt). Mazraoui provided more impetus on the right-hand side, but his defensive frailties showed, while Min-jae showed why he was highly sought after this summer with his robust ball-winning and strength. With Bremen expected to be in a back three, and Pavard with one foot out the door now that Manchester United is showing interest, I look for Mazraoui to get the start in an effort to push Bremen into a lower block.

While Dayot Upamecano played well vs RB Leipzig, his strengths do not lie in breaking down the predicted lower block of Bremen. A combination of de Ligt and Min-jae should offer the deeper passing range required and strength to slow down the previous season’s joint top scorer Niclas Fullkrug. On the left, Alphonso Davies continues to get the start.

At times last Saturday, it looked as if Konrad Laimer was simply chasing shadows in the midfield as Dani Olmo and Xavi Simons dominated in the center of the park. As Tuchel continues his quest for a true defensive midfielder, Laimer is the best option available. Based mostly off of last season and this preseason, Tuchel does not seem to favor the double pivot of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.

I see Laimer getting the chance to redeem himself as the ball-winning midfielder, partnering with Kimmich to start the game. Jamal Musiala will play in front of the two as the creator in an effort to break down Bremen’s defense.

Both Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry started and created opportunities against RB Leipzig on Saturday. I would expect both to once again play an important role in the attack. Sane should start on the right with Gnabry on the left. Centrally, Harry Kane gets his first start in the Bundesliga. Starved of service and touches when he came on for his 30-minute debut for Bayern, hopefully, the training sessions ahead of the match puts him on the same page as the wingers. With Mathys Tel missing a handful of opportunities Saturday, I’m hoping Kane can be gifted some of the same to show off why he was brought in.

"Predicted Starting XI (4-2-3-1) Ulreich Mazraoui- De Ligt- Min Jae-Davies Laimer-Kimmich Sane-Musiala-Gnabry Kane"