Bayern against Hamburg preview

A classic encounter will take place at the Allianz Arena on 9:30 AM Eastern time (3:30 PM in Europe) on Saturday when FC Bayern clashes against Hamburger SV.

ESPN3 has the game in the US. Having firmly inserted their heads into their buttocks, Canadian broadcasters such as GOL TV rather show Köln against Kaiserslautern.

Here is what you can expect:

– This game should be a good showcase of evolution. The last 20 minutes of the match against Zürich saw the team gain in confidence. They put the FCZ goal under siege with nice runs, passes and shots. More of that, please.

– The finishing touch has been lacking, however. The man who suffered the most has been Mario Gomez. This is not for lack of effort. Super Mario has been a bit clumsy lately, missing some chances he would normally have converted.

– We all appreciate Gomez, but he has Ivica Olic as a rival. Not scoring on Saturday would be a bad idea for No. 33.

– Robben remains doubtful because of his back problems. We may see a Ribéry-Kroos-Müller trio behind Gomez.

– If Robben is in… Kroos or Müller at playmaker? Given the impact that both men had on the pitch thus far, Müller should start. His runs have been more effective.

– If Jupp Heynckes really is not satisfied with Kroos, he could put Müller at #10 and stick a guy like Usami or Alaba on the right wing. That would be daring, but then, you can afford it against Hamburg.

– Speaking of them, Hamburg is not the threat it used to be. Star veterans (Rost, ze Roberto, Mathijsen, van Nistelrooy) are gone and the club is rebuilding. Experienced players such as Jarolim, Westermann and Jansen are now surrounded with youth, without the same quality level than Dortmund.

– Strikers Petric and Guerrero are not playing for HSV, further weakening the team.

– As usual, I expect a defending strategy since FCB is vastly superior. Rare are the teams that will challenge its firepower.

– Thankfully, the FCB defense is not making headlines. It seems to be getting more efficient by the day, thanks to contributions by Rafinha and Boateng. If the latter keeps playing this way, I’ll be eating my words for having criticized him early on.