A mounting injury crisis is Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel’s biggest headache as he plots a response to Wednesday’s shock German Cup loss to third division side Saarbrucken at rivals Borussia Dortmund. South Korean Kim Mi-Jae is the only fit central defender after Matthis de Ligt joined Noussair Mazraoui and Dayot Upamecano on the sidelines. With deputy skipper Joshua Kimmich also suspended owing to the red card he received in last week’s 8-0 whitewash of Darmstadt, Tuchel may be forced to deploy Konrad Laimer or Raphael Guerrero in a central defensive position.
The eleven time defending champions are the Bundesliga’s highest scorers but trail pacesetters Bayer Leverkusen by two points with a quarter of the season already played. Edin Terzic’s Black and Yellows are just one point adrift of the Bavarians but they will have to improve on an abysmal head to head record that has yielded a solitary victory in the last eight collisions. Dortmund are without captain Emre Can but go into the game buoyed by a a 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim in the DFB Pokal.
Bundesliga action commences on Friday night with Darmstadt hoping to atone for their humiliation at Bayern Munich when they host Bochum before European football’s worst side at the minute, Union Berlin, attempt to end an eleven game losing streak at home to Eintracht Frankfurt. Union Berlin’s Swiss coach Urs Fischer got a dreaded vote of confidence from the club board despite the Iron Ones 0-1 setback at Stuttgart in the German Cup. On loan striker David Datro Fofana is in contention to start after serving a one week suspension for refusing to shake Fischer’s hand after he was substituted against Napoli.
At least right regulars including Bundesliga rookie of the month September Victor Boniface will return to the starting line up when leaders Bayer Leverkusen travel to Hoffenheim. Jonathan Tah and Edmond Tapsoba were the only regulars to feature for Xabi Alonso’s side when they saw off a spirited challenge from Sandhausen 5-2 in the German Cup. Bundesliga player of the month September Serhou Guirassy will miss Stuttgart’s trip to Heidenheim as he is injured.
Darmstadt v Bochum
Union Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt,
Freiburg v Gladbach,
Mainz v RB Leipzig,
Cologne v Augsburg,
Hoffenheim v Bayer Leverkusen,
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich
Wolfsburg v Werder Bremen,
Hoffenheim v Stuttgart