Bayern Munich will be looking to get back to winning ways on Tuesday evening as they play their first home match of 2023. At the weekend, Julian Nagelsmann’s side were held 1-1 by RB Leipzig in Saxony.
In comparison, FC Köln were the big winners of matchday 16 as they hammered Werder Bremen 7-1 in front of a home crowd. Having struggled for goals at times this season, Köln were ruthless and scored nearly every shot they had on target. After struggling in the tail-end of 2022, Steffen Baumgart’s team couldn’t have dreamt of a better beginning to 2023.
Despite dropping points for the sixth time this campaign, Bayern still have a hand-on to top spot but not by their usual healthy margin. The remaining champions are just five points ahead of 2nd-4th, who are all remarkably on 30 points each. However, Köln will come to the Allianz Arena with their tails up. In a season where Bayern have looked there for the taking at times, the longer Köln stay in the game, the more nervous the home side may get.
One player that Bayern will be looking to for inspiration is Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The Cameroonian international has been revolutionary this season and has stepped into the number 9 spot since Robert Lewandowski left for Barcelona this summer. The 33-year-old opened the scoring against Leipzig last Friday and will be looking to add to his season’s tally again on Tuesday.
What was most impressive about Köln’s mauling of Bremen last weekend was the number of different goalscorers. In total, Köln had four different scorers, which is certainly a change from the normal. Playing in a 4-2-2-2 formation against Bremen, it’s unlikely for Baumgart to be as adventurous against Bayern, especially away from home. The Billy Goats may revert to a 4-4-2 for more stability and look for the likes of Steffen Tigges and Denis Huseinbašić on the break. Alternatively, Baumgart may attempt to bully Bayern’s back four by putting both Steffen Tigges and new-signing Davie Selke up top. Both are well over six feet in height and may just be the tallest strike partnership in Germany or even Europe.
For Bayern, expect an unchanged side and formation as they’ll be gunning to get off the mark for 2023. New goalkeeper Yann Sommer will get his first taste of what it’s like to play for Bayern at home and will no doubt be aiming for a clean sheet. Despite winning their last 9 competitive matches against Köln, Bayern did only scrape through this fixture last season 3-2. Expect another intriguing battle on Tuesday night.
GGFN | Jamie Allen