Hosts Hamburg aiming to get better of Bayern Munich in cup clash
Bayern Munich huffed and puffed their way to a third Bundesliga draw against Borussia Monchengladbach last time out, and now face Hamburg (17/2 with Coral for a memorable win), one of the two other remaining teams who have been able to slow the Bavarian juggernaut this term.
For their part, Pep Guardiola’s side will be keen to prove they can rectify past mistakes and better their DFB Pokal second round hosts. They certainly have the weight of history on their side with 61 wins over their rivals in all competitions.
Holders Bayern are heavy odds-on favourites at 1/4 to put HSV to the sword, but the Bundesliga leaders are no strangers to a cup close-call, with Stuttgart running them close in the 2013 DFB Pokal final.
Hamburg, meanwhile, will be feeling bullish at the Imtech Arena, knowing they have already been able to stifle Guardiola’s winning machine on home turf this term. Battlers HSV are available at 20/1 to repeat that 0-0 scoreline once again and keep Bayern’s attackers at bay.
The home side are currently languishing in 16th place in the Bundesliga, but have received a boost in the return to form and fitness of star striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who has netted twice in his last three outings.
Fearsome forward Lasogga (20/1 to score two or more) impressed on loan for HSV last season, proving his pedigree by bagging 13 league goals in 20 games and attracting the attention of Germany coach Jurgen Klopp. Still just 22, Lasogga should have enough to trouble Bayern’s backline after illustrating his big-game mentality by scoring the winner against out-of-sorts Borussia Dortmund earlier this term.
Skipper and former Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart (3/1 to be on target anytime) will also be aiming to cause the visitors problems, after recently returning from injury. The Dutch architect will likely be joined in the starting XI by another Spurs star, as on-loan Lewis Holtby (14/1 to score last), who only made an appearance from the bench last time out, looks to stake a claim to a first team spot.
Bayern, meanwhile, will be looking to give fringe players a chance in this fixture, to provide fresh legs and a much-needed rest for some of their regular starters. However, Guardiola’s men will want to avoid a cup upset against a team that has already caused them problems this term, as they prepare to do battle for the fourth time in 11 days.
Swiss maestro Xherdan Shaqiri (6/1 to open the scoring), who is consistently linked with a Premier League switch, and Denmark star Pierre Hojbjerg could be the ones set to benefit from a changing of the guard.
Should Bayern need to call on their superstars, however, Ballon d’Or nominee Thomas Muller (7/2), World Cup winner, Mario Gotze (7/2) and Polish poacher Robert Lewandowski (14/5) are all available at enticing odds to net last and save the day.