Created on 2019-12-20 at 16:47 PM
Curtains raised for the final act of the football year 2019. FC Bayern finishes the first half of the season with a home game against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday (from 9:30 am ET in live ticker and free on web radio at fcbayern.com) and enter the well-earned winter break after 26 competitive matches. However, the record champions want to continue their strong run of form and pick up their 25th home victory over Wolfsburg in 27 competitive matches (two draws).
The last meeting in the Allianz Arena was a comprehensive 6-0 win for Bayern in March 2019.
With the last-minute win against Freiburg on Wednesday evening, Bayern has reduced the deficit behind Leipzig and Mönchengladbach to four points. A win in the final game of the year would keep the Munich side in touching distance and ready to attack after the break. “It’s important that we’re determined and energized going into the game,” said coach Hansi Flick ahead of the match.
Flick described the current league table as a “momentary snapshot,” to which he attributes little significance. “We have Matchday 17, then the first half is finished. But there are still so many games to play, so many points to pick up. What’s important is that we want to win on Saturday and show it on the pitch.”
Wolfsburg made a strong start to the season and was undefeated after nine games, before falling to their first loss in Dortmund. With 16 goals against, the Wolves currently boast the best defense in the league, and away from home, they’ve only conceded six times. However, the Lower Saxony side has struggled at the other end of the pitch, which is why they're only in eighth place. With 18 goals to their name after 16 matches, only Fortuna Düsseldorf have scored fewer (16). In the last game against Schalke, Wolfsburg had 27 shots on goal but only came away with a 1-1 draw. Now they face Bayern, a team against whom they’ve lost more times (34) and conceded more goals (109) than any other in the Bundesliga.
The personnel situation remains stretched for the final game of the year. None of the injured players return before Saturday, and Flick will also have to make do without suspended Thiago (five yellow cards). “We have 11 fit outfield players, and five youngsters as well,” said Flick about the available squad.
On the Wolfsburg side, the availability of strikers Wout Weghorst and Daniel Ginczek is still to be confirmed. Top scorer Weghorst (seven goals) is suffering from a fever, while Ginczek complained of a sore throat on Friday. Their place in the team will be decided “only last-minute,” said coach Oliver Glasner.
What the coaches say
Hansi Flick: “We want to finish off the first half of the season with a home win and bid farewell to our fans with a great 90 minutes. We are determined to give it all for the last match. Wolfsburg is a robust team, strong on the ball, with players who are really good footballers. We expect a team that can do everything. It definitely won’t be easy.”
Oliver Glasner (Wolfsburg coach): “We’re in a good position, the players are looking forward to the final away game. Recent performances have given us lots of confidence. We'll go to Munich and try to make it as tough as possible for Bayern. We approach the game with the same aim as ever: to win. Obviously, I know Wolfsburg has never won there. Maybe that’s some extra motivation for the players.”
A round anniversary for the final game of the year. David Alaba is set to make his 250th Bundesliga appearance against Wolfsburg on Saturday. Alaba made his debut in the German top-flight almost exactly 10 years ago: on March 6th, 2010 he replaced injured Diego Contento in the 73rd minute in the 1-1 draw at FC Köln. Aged 17 years and 255 days, Alaba was Bayern’s youngest ever Bundesliga player. Since then he has become an integral part of the record champions’ squad, scoring 22 goals and providing 22 assists.
To enjoy: Lewandowski’s five-goal gala against Wolfsburg 2015 👇