BERLIN, Germany, Dec 8 – Memories of Robert Lewandowski’s historic five-goal haul will come flooding back when FC Bayern München welcome VfL Wolfsburg to the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
The Poland international made an unforgettable star turn in last
season’s corresponding fixture, stepping off the bench to score five
goals in the space of nine barnstorming minutes as Bayern hit back
from a goal down to win 5-1.
‘Lewangoalski’ went on to finish the campaign as Bundesliga top scorer for the second time in his career, and has scarcely stopped scoring since – his brace against 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Matchday 13 taking his Bundesliga tally to nine for the season.
Wolfsburg have their very own tried and tested Bundesliga goal-getter in the form of former VfB Stuttgart and Bayern striker Mario Gomez.
The Germany international returned to the Bundesliga following a
three-year absence in the summer, but has found the net only three
times in 12 Bundesliga appearances since, in what has proved a trying campaign for all concerned at the lowly Wolves.
Robert Lewandowski scored twice in Bayern’s 3-1 win at Mainz on Matchday 13.
Wolfsburg have played in Munich 20 times in the league and have just a single solitary point to show for that. The only time the club from
northern Germany avoided defeat in Bavaria was in December 2001 when the teams shared the spoils in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
A repeat of that result is something Wolfsburg fans would presumably
be very happy about.
Wolfsburg coach Valerien Ismael, who has failed to turn things around at the club since taking over from Dieter Hecking and picked up just four points from six matches, will be without defensive midfielder Paul Seguin and Maximilian Arnold.
Seguin was sent off against Hertha, while Arnold picked up a fifth
booking and will miss the game against Bayern.
There is also a question mark behind Germany international Julian
Draxler, who could have played his last game for Wolfsburg. Ismael,
who spent two seasons playing for Bayern, started the talented midfielder on the bench against Berlin and Draxler was booed when he came on, prompting the 23-year-old to repeat an earlier statement that he was looking to leave the club.
“I expect him to work particularly hard, but I expect that from the
entire team,” Ismael said. In an attempt to smooth the situation,
Ismael had a meeting with Draxler, but said he did not want to
disclose what they spoke about. “We need to move forward. We can’t speak about one player all the time. The team has to stand above all.”
Bayern though might quite well like to talk about Draxler as the
record Bundesliga champions could well make Wolfsburg an offer for the want-away player during the winter break, which just adds another
dimension to an already intriguing Bundesliga game.
The game will be broadcast live on the World Football channel of
StarTimes as one of nine Bundesliga matches that StarTimes subscribers will be able to watch this weekend.
If the match between Bayern and Wolfsburg headlines the match day, the support acts are certainly no less impressive.
One of just two teams without defeat in this season – Hoffenheim – get proceedings under way tonight with a difficult away trip to Frankfurt.
Coach Niko Kovac has managed to turn things around at Frankfurt and the club that last year only avoided relegation by winning a play-off, are currently fourth with 25 points – a position behind Hoffenheim who have the same number of points.
Another fascinating game takes place tomorrow in Ingolstadt, where the home side, who are bottom of the table, take on rookies RB Leipzig.
Guinea international Naby Keita and his team-mates have taken the
Bundesliga by storm and not only have yet to lose a Bundesliga game, they are also currently first.
Much of the focus in Ingolstadt will be on Leipzig’s Timo Werner after
the striker admitted that the penalty he received against Schalke
should not have been given as he was not fouled.
Top scorer Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, who added two last weekend to move to 15 goals for the season, makes the short trip to Cologne with his Dortmund side, confident that they can build on the 4-1 victory against Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Other weekend matches include Hamburg v Augsburg, Freiburg v
Darmstadt, Hertha Berlin v Werder Bremen, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Mainz and Schalke v Leverkusen.