Manuel Veth –
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayern Munich – Saturday, November 23, 14:30BST/15:30CEST – MERKUR-SPIEL Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany
“There are possibilities to hurt Bayern,” Fortuna Düsseldorf head coach Friedhelm Funkel told the German magazine kicker on Thursday. Fortuna Düsseldorf are the outsiders on Saturday at home at the MERKUR-SPIEL Arena.
“It is a bit like our own Oktoberfest,” Fortuna Düsseldorf sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel said on the recent Gegenpressing Podcast. “Nobody expects much from us anyways.” Nonetheless, Fortuna have hurt Bayern in the past, and last season managed a 3-3 draw at the Allianz Arena thanks to three goals by striker Dodi Lukebakio.
Not that Fortuna Düsseldorf head coach Friedhelm Funkel cares much about the odds. “We are not afraid,” Funkel said. Dortmund recently, highlighted what happens when teams approach Bayern timidly, the best recipe against the Rekordmeister is a stern physical approach.
At the same time, Düsseldorf are also aware that they have to be defensively sound. Against no other team did Fortuna concede more goals than against Bayern (113). “We need a good goalkeeper, who will grow above and beyond his capabilities,” Funkel said. That keeper will be Zack Steffen, the USMNT keeper has overcome his injury problems and will start against Bayern.
Trying to minimize that surprise is new Bayern head coach Hansi Flick. After Bayern’s 4-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund, the former assistant was confirmed as the new head coach until at least Christmas.
“Düsseldorf have a good defense and are compact,” Flick said on Thursday. “Their greatest quality is how they switch the play. If they have space, it will be dangerous. And they are impressively efficient.”
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Flick used the international break to prepare for Fortuna. “We spent a lot of time in the coaching staff studying Fortuna, and we know exactly how we want to play there,” Flick said. Despite many players on the road during the international break, Flick feels prepared for the opponent on Saturday.
Pfannenstiel, in his interview with the Futbolgrad Network, was not so sure, however. The Fortuna Düsseldorf sporting director pointed out that the international break favors smaller clubs like rather than big clubs such as Bayern. The truth will be on the pitch on Saturday, Bayern are favorites, but Fortuna are not without a chance to hurt the Bavarian giants.
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayern Munich – Players to look out for:
Rouwen Hennings #28 – Fortuna Düsseldorf
“Hennings can be this year’s Lukebakio,” Pfannenstiel told the Futbolgrad Network. Rouwen Hennings has been in brilliant form this season scoring nine goals in 11 Bundesliga games, including three on matchday 11 against Schalke. Only Robert Lewandowski (16) and Timo Werner (11) have scored more goals in the Bundesliga this season.
Leon Goretzka #18 – Bayern Munich
Leon Goretzka is slowly regaining his top form. The national team midfielder scored twice in Germany’s 6-1 victory over Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Playing in a roaming number 8 role suited the midfielder, and it can be expected that Hansi Flick will field him in a similar role on Saturday against Fortuna.
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayern Munich – Match Stats
- Fortuna Düsseldorf have lost the last eight home games against Bayern Munich.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored against 17 of 18 Bundesliga sides, Fortuna is the only club missing in his collection.
- Düsseldorf’s record against Bayern Munich at home: W7 D4 L13.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayern Munich – 1-2
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayern Munich – Lineups
Steffen – Ayhan, Hoffmann, Adams – Zimmer, Morales, Gießelmann – Zimmermann, Fink – Kownacki, Hennings
Head Coach: Friedhelm Funkel
Neuer – Pavard, Javi Martínez, Alaba, Davies – Goretzka, Kimmich, Müller – Gnabry, Lewandowski, Coman
Head Coach: Hansi Flick
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.