Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen all set for Bundesliga classic
No two teams have met more times in the Bundesliga than Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen, and with both heading into Tuesday night's tussle under the Allianz Arena lights in fine form, fireworks are predicted to fly.
Bayern are back on top of the Bundesliga and producing equally ominous form in European competition with Julian Naglesmann's side now on eight wins in a row in all competitions heading towards the World Cup pause. Saturday's 3-2 success at Hertha Berlin extended the defending Bundesliga champions' unbeaten run to 11 games, of which they have won 10 and scored 41 times in the process.
Werder may not be able to equal those jaw-dropping digits, but what Ole Werner's seventh-placed Green-Whites will bring to Bavaria is a barrel-load of confidence. A potent pairing who call themselves the 'Ugly Ducklings' are also primed to ruffle local feathers. Niklas Füllkrug and Marvin Ducksch combined to sink Schalke last weekend, the deadly duo scoring a goal apiece as the River Islanders racked up a second successive win that has the promoted Bremen flying high and hungry for more.
Watch: Choupo-Moting twice on target as Bayern beat Hertha
Füllkrug's latest strike took him to 10 goals for the campaign and to second in the scoring charts, evoking memories of the great Claudio Pizarro, the last Werder marksman to hit double figures at this stage of a season. "We want to, and can, take something from every game, and that’s how we will continue to play this season," the 29-year-old Füllkrug told Werder's website after his team beat Schalke 2-1. "Every game is taken as a one-off and we try to get the most out of each encounter every single time."
Having taken Bundesliga 2 by storm last season, the Ducksch-Füllkrug combo have continued where they left off this term, contributing to a combined 18 of Bremen's 23 goals so far.
They head into the Bayern bear pit ready to wrestle with the likes of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Jamal Musiala, goalscoring beasts with insatiable appetites. Cameroon international Choupo-Moting scored in a seventh successive game - and his fourth in-a-row in the Bundesliga - at Hertha this past weekend. The Hamburg-born frontman has registered nine goals in his last seven games.
Watch: Füllkrug and Ducksh push Werder past Schalke
Musiala, meanwhile, took his goal involvement up to 12 (eight goals, four assists) with his eighth Bundesliga strike in the German capital. He's matched on that number by just one other player so far in 2022/23: Füllkrug (10 goals, two assists). Should the latter recover from a bruised back in time to feature, the Matchday 14 showdown should provide tremendous attacking entertainment in what will be the 111th meeting between the teams.
"We'll have to put in our best performance and then see if that’s enough," Werner said in the build-up to Tuesday night's fixture.
"We know that Bayern are incredibly strong, especially at home, but the team and I are really excited about this game," added Bremen defender Marco Friedl of the prospect of facing his former side.
Watch: Jamal Musiala - Bayern's talented teen
On the plus side for the visitors, historically, Bayern have only suffered more defeats against Borussia Mönchengladbach than against Die Grün-Weißen (26) in the Bundesliga. In the glass half empty view from a Werder perspective, Bayern haven't lost against this week's visitors for 29 games, 25 of those going the way of the Bavarian giants.
"We've got a lot of confidence. We started this double-match week with three points and now we have a couple of tough games ahead of us," Bremen midfielder Ilia Gruev explained. "But we want to compete with the best and we will definitely need to put in a better performance against Bayern Munich than we did [in Saturday's narrow win against Schalke]."
They may currently boast their highest points tally at this stage of a season in eleven years (21) but - as Gruev pointed out - Werder are understandably wary of what they will be coming up against at the imposing Allianz Arena.
The powerful hosts have been scoring for fun in recent games in front of their own fans, managing at least four in their last three matches in Munich (for a total of 15). The record champions are also the highest domestic scorers in Europe's big five leagues, having hit 41 goals in the Bundesliga to this point.
Yet Werder have their own useful weapon that may come in handy should they be up against it in the game's closing stages against Bayern. Werner's men have been the Bundesliga's most dangerous in the final quarter of games this season, scoring a division-best 11 goals in the last quarter.
"It's simply a lot of fun to win games and that’s why we should carry on doing so," Austrian international Friedl continued. "We have to keep working hard to maintain our run. It's [now] about recharging our batteries as quickly as possible so that we can go all guns blazing again on Tuesday."
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