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Preview: Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich – prediction, team news, line-ups

Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga title defence kicks off at the Weserstadion against last season’s bottom-half minnows Werder Bremen on Friday.

Despite suffering four defeats in their last five league games towards the end of the 2022/23 Bundesliga campaign (D1), Ole Werner’s team secured survival upon their top-flight return.

However, a slender three-point lead on the dreaded relegation play-off place should be a stark reminder for Die Werderaner not to get ahead of themselves in the new season.

Werder may be the second most-experienced top-flight tenants, with 1,968 league matches under their belt.

But last weekend’s 3-2 DFB-Pokal defeat to third-tier Viktoria Koln casts doubt on their long-term prospects in the Bundesliga.

It’s hard to expect the troubled home side to put their cup misery behind them against the record-time German champions, even though the visitors no longer look as formidable as they did in previous years.

Thomas Tuchel’s men hoisted a record-extending 11th Bundesliga title last season, yet Borussia Dortmund gave them a huge helping hand by collapsing in a pulsating season finale against Mainz.

When it became clear Bayern could no longer afford to proceed without finding a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, the Bavarians shattered the Bundesliga transfer record to sign Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old striker ended his iconic association with Tottenham Hotspur in pursuit of silverware and was hopeful of achieving his goal barely hours after landing in Munich.

RB Leipzig spoiled the Englishman’s welcoming party as Dani Olmo’s stunning hat-trick dismantled Bayern 3-0 in the DFL-Supercup last weekend, ruining Kane’s debut.

As mentioned in our 2023/24 Bundesliga preview, it’s hard to imagine anyone knocking the perennial champions off their perch, but Leipzig’s Supercup heroics could set the tone for a historic season.

Match Preview

Not even the most optimistic fans expect Werner’s side to add to Bayern’s nightmarish 2023/24 start, as you’d have to go back to 2008 for the last time Werder got the better of the Bavarians in Bundesliga action. 

It’s all been doom and gloom for Die Werderaner in this fixture since that memorable 5-2 victory in Munich 15 years ago, as witnessed by their embarrassing record of 23 defeats in 27 league H2Hs since (D4).

Things get worse at the Weserstadion, where they’ve lost their last 15 encounters against Bayern in all competitions, a run stretching back to the start of 2010. 

With that in mind, Werder’s bid to start a new league campaign with a win for the first time since 2013/14 looks like a pipe dream.

Bayern’s dominant H2H record against Werder is perhaps the only encouragement the travelling supporters can get besides Kane’s blockbuster arrival. 

The situation in the dressing room spells trouble after Tuchel’s public criticism of his side’s performance against Leipzig caused unrest among several key first-team figures, including stand-in captain Joshua Kimmich.

Reduced to Sven Ulrich as the only goalkeeping option in the absence of Manuel Neuer, the visitors’ quest to end an underwhelming run of three straight league travels without a clean sheet looks far-fetched. 

On a more positive note, Bayern last opened a new Bundesliga campaign with a loss in 2011/12, racking up eight wins and two draws in their subsequent ten top-flight openers.

Team News

Naby Keita won’t make his Werder debut this weekend due to a groin injury. In addition to the ex-Liverpool midfielder, Dawid Kownacki is the only other absentee in the home camp.

Bayern manager Tuchel cannot count on Raphael Guerreiro, who’s out with a calf injury. Thomas Muller, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Neuer form the remainder of the visitors’ injured contingent. 

Werder Bremen potential starting line-up:

(3-4-3): Jiri Pavlenka; Milos Veljkovic, Niklas Stark, Christian Gross; Anthony Jung, Jens Stage, Leonardo Bittencourt, Oliver Burke; Marvin Ducksch, Romano Schmid, Niclas Fullkrug. 

Bayern Munich potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Sven Ulrich; Alphonso Davies, Kim Min-jae, Dayot Upamecano, Benjamin Pavard; Joshua Kimmich, Konrad Leimer; Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, Kingsley Coman; Harry Kane.

We Say: Werder Bremen 1-3 Bayern Munich

Despite Bayern’s demoralising start to the season, it’s hard to resist the temptation of backing Kane to paint his Bundesliga debut with flying colours. 

We expect the England captain to lead the Bavarians to a landslide victory against below-par opposition. 

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