Munich - Champions FC Bayern München boast a 100 per cent record as they bid for an unprecedented fourth Bundesliga title, but they face a stiff test against plucky neighbours FC Augsburg on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CEST).
bundesliga.com takes a look at some of the key protagonists in this Matchday 4 Bavarian derby…
Even before his last appearance against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, commentators had begun running out of superlatives to describe Douglas Costa. He then promptly delivered another assist for Thomas Müller, before thrilling the crowd by performing a rainbow flick over an opponent’s head.
Costa has been involved in five goals – scoring once and assisting twice – in his three league appearances, as well as in a shot on goal every 13 minutes. He looks likely to build on that against the Függerstädter, which means visiting right-back Paul Verhaegh could be in for a long afternoon indeed.
Back in the side after missing Bayern’s last league game with suspension, the Germany FIFA World Cup winner’s presence will make the Bayern defence somewhat more familiar compared to the back four of Juan Bernat, David Alaba, Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm.
Fresh from two solid performances for German in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, Boateng will be keen to resume his function as Bayern’s defensive rock, and his physicality in this game, particularly against the likes of Augsburg’s Raul Bobadilla, could make for a thrilling spectacle.
Top of the scoring charts with five goals in three games – plus another three for Germany during the international break – Müller has seldom been in better form in his already illustrious career.
The 25-year-old has been in devastating form coming in from a wide right position, often finding himself the furthest player forward and thus ideally placed to benefit from the excellent service provided from wide areas. After reaching 30 international goals against Scotland, his confidence will be sky-high.
After six months at VfL Wolfsburg and a season and a half at 1. FSV Mainz 05, Ja-Cheol Koo is apparently back where he belongs at Augsburg, a club where he scored eight goals in 37 Bundesliga matches between January 2012 and May 2013.
Markus Weinzierl’s men are winless in their three games thus far this term, although they enjoyed good spells against Eintracht Frankfurt and Hertha Berlin. The coach will hope Koo – who scored in this fixture in May 2012 – can provide the attacking spark to unsettle the hosts.
One guarantee is that Paraguay international Bobadilla will not be overawed by the occasion at the Allianz Arena. After all, he scored perhaps the most famous goal of his career in this fixture a few months ago as Augsburg beat Bayern to record the club’s first and only win over the Reds.
His season started with a red card on Matchday 1 against Hertha and he is yet to find his form, but the visitors will look to make the most of his physical threat, either at set-pieces or on the break.
Scorer of Augsburg’s only goal this season – a cracker of a a finish in a 1-1 draw away at Frankfurt – Brazilian forward Caiuby appears to be delivering on his potential in his second season at the WWK Arena.
The 27-year-old will need to be at his most industrious to help out on the defensive side of things, but if Augsburg can counter-attack at speed, his pace will likely be a key weapon for the guests.