Appetiser done, now for Wednesday's main event

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Bayern MunichGettyImagesPhilipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dante and Thomas Muller celebrate the win over Eintracht Braunschweig.

Eintracht Braunschweig battled fiercely against a lacklustre Bayern Munich side on Saturday afternoon as Pep Guardiola's side exuded the air of a team with focus on the Champions League.

The current holders of European football's biggest prize face Real Madrid on Wednesday and warmed up with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over a team battling relegation. Guardiola's side have gone off the boil in recent weeks, perhaps in part due to sealing the Bundesliga title so early. Manchester United, for all their travails in England, scared Pep's men at times in the last round and Saturday's victory over Braunschweig was rather mundane; bereft of the swagger we have come to expect from the German champions. Continue Reading...

First and last

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Matthias Sammer AllsportMatthias Sammer has not been happy with Bayern's run of form despite having already been crowned champions.

Eintracht Braunschweig and Bayern Munich approach Saturday's match-up between the first- and last-placed Bundesliga sides with the same purpose, albeit for vastly different reasons.

Bayern need to put in a positive result in league competition ahead of Real Madrid mid-week, while Braunschweig are fighting for their first division lives at the bottom of the table in an extremely tight relegation battle.

• Honigstein: Race for fourth flying under radar

It makes for an interesting match. Continue Reading...

Servus Berlin!

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty ImagesArjen Robben helped drive Bayern forward into the DFB Pokal final with a 5-1 win over Kaiserslautern.

"We need passion and commitment," Pep Guardiola said pre-match, "only then will we be able to get to Berlin." I'm not sure about the passion, but at least the commitment was there against FC Kaiserslautern in Wednesday's DFB Pokal semifinal. It wasn't a perfect game by any means, but at least Bayern Munich returned to winning ways at the Allianz Arena after a string of less-than-acceptable results.

Bayern had the majority of the ball, but no goals, until Bastian Schweinsteiger broke the scoreless deadlock a half hour into the match. Continue Reading...

Guardiola must maintain Bayern's high standards

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Pep GuardiolaGettyImagesPep Guardiola's decisions and tactics have come under scrutiny recently.

"If we play like we have done in the last three league games, we won't be reaching any finals," said Pep Guardiola in his prematch news conference ahead of Bayern Munich's DFB Pokal semifinal against second division 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

Although Bayern went through to the Champions League last four with a 4-2 aggregate score over Manchester United the team has looked bored, careless or lost since clinching their record-breaking Bundesliga title against Hertha Berlin with seven matches to spare. Continue Reading...

Guardiola's tinkering backfires as Dortmund cruise

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Shaun Botterill/Getty ImagesPep Guardiola's Bayern Munich continues to struggle in the Bundesliga since the club secured its title.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan put his multiple misses in Borussia Dortmund's Champions League match loss to Real Madrid behind him as he ignited Dortmund's dominance over Bayern on Saturday. Second-half goals from Marco Reus and Jonas Hofmann sealed Bayern's fate 3-0, as the two teams managed an aggregate 3-3 score in the Bundesliga this season, with Rafinha earning a red card in both matches.

The match might not have any meaning to Bayern, after they already secured the title, but Dortmund were out to send a message. Continue Reading...

Klassiker dilemma

Posted by Susie Schaaf

What has become, in recent times, the Bundesliga match-up the whole world looks forward to, both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will likely field less-than full-strength sides at the Allianz Arena on Saturday evening. 207 out of 209 FIFA countries will broadcast what may come down to a war of wits between Dortmund boss Juergen Klopp and Bayern manager Pep Guardiola.

- Report: Bayern and BVB continue war of words
- Buczko: German Clasico an inconvenience

What's the worst team Bayern or Dortmund can field, and still get a result? Continue Reading...

Bayern the "Bestia Negra" to spoil Madrid's "Decima"?

Posted by Susie Schaaf

While most think that there's some grand UEFA conspiracy to keep certain squads apart, especially when teams get to this level of Champions League competition -- after all, wasn't everyone clamouring for a Real Madrid-Bayern Munich final?! -- it appears that was not in the cards this time around.

- Marcotti: Enjoy the UCL semifinal ride
- Rigg: Madrid out to serve finest dish to Bayern
- Report: Guardiola wowed by Madrid quality

If you'd asked me, and many have, who I would have preferred to draw, my answer was squarely on Chelsea. Continue Reading...

Bayern come correct in second half to advance

Posted by Susie Schaaf

David De Gea can't keep out Mario Mandzukic's header to level for Bayern instantly.GettyImagesDavid De Gea failed to keep out Mario Mandzukic's header as Bayern equalised a minute after falling behind.

"Kings of the Cup" was the choreo for the Suedkuerve stand before the opening of the second tie between Bayern Munich and Manchester United in the Allianz Arena, as Bayern held a slight advantage going in with a 1-1 result at Old Trafford.

The crowd, restricted to 67,300 because of a UEFA partial stadium ban involving a banner by a few homophobic Austrians from the return Arsenal match, saw Bayern try to pick the unforgiving lock of Manchester United's defence for an hour. Continue Reading...

Do or die at the Allianz for Bayern, Man United

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Alex Livesey/Getty ImagesBayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger is suspended for the team's Champions League return leg quarterfinal versus Manchester United.

While the result of the first tie might have been a surprise to most (Man United supporters, as well, if they'd be truthful), the two European behemoths are back at it again at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening. After drawing 1-1 at Old Trafford, suspensions, injuries and sub-plots will all come into play at Allianz as Bayern Munich endeavour to get past Manchester United and continue their Champions League title defence.

- Injuries: Shaqiri ruled out vs. Man United
- Schaaf: Bayern unbeaten streak finally ends

Losing Bastian Schweinsteiger to yellow/red and Javi Martinez to accumulated yellows the first time around puts a strain on Pep Guardiola's deep bench. Continue Reading...

All good things must come to an end

Posted by Susie Schaaf

AP Photo/Matthias SchraderPierre Hojbjerg and Bayern finally slipped up in Bundesliga play on Saturday at Augsburg.

Bayern Munich last lost to a Bundesliga side on Oct. 28, 2012 -- 1-2 to Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena. That was 54 matches ago. Augsburg striker Sascha Moelders, with his 31st-minute strike -- the lone goal on the day -- will go down in the history books as the man who beat the Rekordmeister.

- Report: Augsburg 1-0 Bayern Munich

I'd mentioned in my preview for this match there were two ways Bayern manager Pep Guardiola could have gone about it:

1. Giving players a rest ahead of a crunch Champions League match with Manchester United. Continue Reading...

Bayern will try to right the ship against FC Augsburg

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Boris Streubel/Getty ImagesAugsburg keeper Marwin Hitz found himself in the news across the world thanks to a laughable own goal last weekend.

Bayern Munich has spent an interesting week drawing 3-3 with Hoffenheim, then 1-1 in Manchester, before the "pig" hit the fan -- seeing the Sun and Daily Mirror denied media credentials at the Allianz Arena for the quarterfinal return leg next Wednesday.

But, hey! At least Bayern's troubles aren't as bad as FC Augsburg's calamitous own goal against Mainz 05 last weekend.

Augsburg keeper Marwin Hitz deflected a shot from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, only tipping it to the post. Continue Reading...

Bayern fail to show potential in surprising draw at Old Trafford

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Danny Welbeck attempts to chip Manuel Neuer.
PA PhotosDanny Welbeck attempts to chip Manuel Neuer.

Well, that wasn't supposed to happen (and I feel like I've said pretty much the same thing recently). An ultra-defensive Manchester United side befuddled Bayern Munich over large stretches of their opening Champions League quarterfinal tie, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Nemanja Vidic opened the scoring in the second half for the Red Devils against the run of play, while Bastian Schweinsteiger struck a top-drawer equaliser, minutes later, for the title holders.

Schweinsteiger was handed a questionable second yellow in the dying minutes of the match for a "tackle" on Wayne Rooney that sees him banned for the return tie in Munich. Continue Reading...