Bayern To Miss Mueller, Lewandowski In Potential Title-Clincher

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (C) heads to score his team’s fourth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich on June 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP


Bayern Munich could secure an eighth straight Bundesliga title this weekend, but host Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday without suspended duo Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern will be confirmed champions with a win on Saturday if second-placed Borussia Dortmund lose at relegation-threatened Fortuna Duesseldorf earlier in the day.

That scenario would give Hansi Flick’s side an unassailable 10-point lead with three games remaining.

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But Bayern are without Lewandowski, the league’s top scorer this season with 30 goals, and Mueller, who is one short of the Bundesliga record of 21 assists in a single campaign.

“It’s annoying, but we can’t do anything about it,” said Bayern coach Flick.

Thiago Alcantara is likely to replace Mueller, while winger Serge Gnabry could take Lewandowski’s place up front if he is fit after a back injury.

Bayern proved they can score goals without Lewandowski by thumping Hoffenheim 6-0 in late February when the Polish striker was injured.

They had a scare in Wednesday’s German Cup semi-final win over Eintracht Frankfurt, when Danny da Costa equalised for the visitors before Lewandowski sealed a 2-1 win with his 45th goal this season.

Mueller admitted Bayern were “tired”, “worn out” and scrapped their way to victory in the first of three games in six days.

But they are still in the running to repeat their 2013 treble having beaten Chelsea 3-0 away in their Champions League last-16 first leg before the competition was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fourth-placed Gladbach pulled off a shock 2-1 victory at Borussia Park when the sides met last December.

But Marco Rose’s side have been erratic of late, crushing Union Berlin 4-1 at home at the end of May before stumbling to defeat at Freiburg last weekend.

Rose hopes to include Swiss forward Breel Embolo, with the 23-year-old fit after an ankle knock.

– Bremen’s basement battle –

At the foot of the table, fallen giants Werder Bremen face a crucial game at Paderborn in a battle of the bottom two.

Florian Kohfeldt’s Bremen are six points from safety in 17th and three off the relegation play-off place following back-to-back home defeats.

Bremen, who were in the Champions League a decade ago, have spent more seasons in the top flight than any other club, but are running out of time.

“We know how much is riding on this game,” said American forward Josh Sargent. “This club has such a long history, and no one wants to let the team or the city down.”

One to watch: Emre Can

The Germany international scored the winner in last weekend’s tense 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin despite playing as part of a back three.

The 26-year-old, who usually plays in midfield, has been a reliable figure for Dortmund since joining from Juventus in January.

He has shown his versatility by adding steel to a sometimes vulnerable side while still providing an attacking threat, having also marked his debut in February with a stunning long-range strike against Bayer Leverkusen.

Key stats

39: Successive seasons in the Bundesliga for Werder Bremen.

90: Bundesliga goals scored by Bayern this season. The club record is 101.

12: Number of times Bayern have won the league and cup double.

German Bundesliga Fixtures This Weekend

(All times 1330 GMT unless stated)


Hoffenheim v RB Leipzig (1830)


Wolfsburg v Freiburg, Fortuna Duesseldorf v Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt, Cologne v Union Berlin, Paderborn v Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich v Borussia Moenchengladbach (1630)


Mainz v Augsburg, Schalke v Bayer Leverkusen (1600)


Dortmund Braced For ‘Most Unusual Derby In History’ As Bundesliga Fixtures Return

Dortmund's Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match Werder Bremen vs BVB Borussia Dortmund, in Bremen, northern Germany on February 22, 2020. Patrik Stollarz / AFP
File: Dortmund’s Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match Werder Bremen vs BVB Borussia Dortmund, in Bremen, northern Germany on February 22, 2020. Patrik Stollarz / AFP


Borussia Dortmund’s young stars Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho will be hunting more goals on Saturday in “the most unusual derby in history” against Schalke as the German Bundesliga returns behind locked doors.

Dortmund usually expect 82,000 spectators at Signal Iduna Park for a home derby, but the stadium will be near-empty with only a handful of media and officials admitted.

Even national team coach Joachim Loew will not be allowed in to watch his Germany players live on their return to action.

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“It will be the most unusual derby in history,” former Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl told German daily Welt.

Normally, a home derby against Schalke comes alive “through the fans, from their emotions, from the enthusiasm in the stadium,” Kehl added.

Dortmund are looking to close the four-point gap behind leaders Bayern Munich, who visit Union Berlin on Sunday.

However, Dortmund’s iconic south stand, dubbed “The Yellow Wall” and normally packed with 25,000 passionate fans will – like the rest of the stadium – stand empty.

“The players will miss the chance for extra motivation by the fans and the atmosphere,” admitted Kehl.

While league action in England, Spain and Italy is still at least a month away, the German Football League (DFL) has drawn up detailed hygiene guidelines to restart.

The Bundesliga is set to become the first top European league to return during the pandemic, which has so far claimed around 7,700 lives in Germany.

At games around the country, substitutes will wear masks, goal celebrations will be replaced by elbow taps while handshakes and hugs before kick-off are a no-go.

“A lot of things will start from scratch on Saturday,” Dortmund winger Julian Brandt told Sky.

“There will be no real advantages and disadvantages to playing home or away.

“In the end, it depends on who best accepts this situation and can best deal with it.”

The pressure is on Haaland, 19, and Sancho, 20, to continue their goal-rich partnership, despite the empty terraces, and steer injury-depleted Dortmund to victory.

Midfield enforcers Emre Can and Axel Witsel are out with muscle strains, while playmaker Marco Reus is recovering from a groin problem.

Haaland was in stunning form when the league was suspended in mid-March with nine goals in eight Bundesliga appearances since joining from Salzburg.

Sancho also terrorised defences with 14 goals and 16 assists in 23 league games.

At third-placed RB Leipzig, Germany striker Timo Werner is aiming to move closer to his goal target for the season against Freiburg on Saturday.

“Not many players my age have scored 20 goals in a season once and I’ve done it twice,” said the 24-year-old Werner who has netted 21 times this term. “I’d like to score 30 in a season.”

Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig trail leaders Bayern by five points following draws against Leverkusen and Wolfsburg before matches were halted due to the virus outbreak.

One to watch: Robert Lewandowski

The league’s top scorer is back from injury and looking to add to his 25 goals this season on Sunday against Union in Berlin.

With nine games left, the 31-year-old Poland international is set to beat his previous best haul of 30 league goals, achieved in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.

It will also be worth watching Bayern’s Canadian teen Alphonso Davies, 19, who has extended his contract until 2025 after several impressive displays at left-back.

Key stats
39 – the goals Lewandowski has scored in 33 matches in all competitions this season.

40 – the record number of league goals scored for Bayern by West Germany legend Gerd Mueller in 1971/72.

40 – the goals Haaland has scored this season in 33 games for Dortmund and former club Salzburg, including 10 in the Champions League.

Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)


Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04

RB Leipzig v Freiburg

Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin

Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn

Augsburg v VfL Wolfsburg

Eintracht Frankfurt v Bor. Moenchengladbach (1630)


Cologne v Mainz

FC Union Berlin v Bayern Munich (1600)


Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen (1830)