The Bavarians maintained their eight-point lead over second-place VfL Wolfsburg with a resounding 8-0 victory over Hamburger SV last time out, but Andre Breitenreiter’s side will be buoyed by Sunday’s come-from-behind win at Hannover 96, which lifted the hosts up to twelfth place ahead of the meeting with Pep Guardiola’s troops.
bundesliga.com previews the action...
With Wolfsburg currently in blistering form, die Münchner know they cannot afford any slip-ups against the East Westphalian minnows on Saturday. Although games against the likes of Bayern are unlikely to determine their Bundesliga survival, a point - or even three - against the record titleholders could go a long way to ensuring Paderborn’s top-flight safety.
Full-backs Daniel Brückner and Jens Wemmer (r.) could return to the side after recovering from a virus, with Michael Heinloth and Florian Hartherz set to make way. Breitenreiter has no new injury concerns to deal with ahead of the game, but Lukas Rupp could be recalled in defensive midfield in place of Patrick Ziegler.
The game comes too early for skipper Philipp Lahm, despite his return to light training this week following ankle surgery. Defender Jerome Boateng (l.) is available again after a two-game suspension, while Franck Ribery is vying for a starting berth once again after coming off the bench to score against Hamburg last weekend.
Having seen Jaroslav Drobny concede eight in Munich on Matchday 21, Paderborn fans will be hoping the same fate does not befall Lukas Kruse (r.) on Saturday. The 31-year-old former Borussia Dortmund player had a solid game against Hannover last weekend and will need to produce a performance of similar stature if the hosts are to avoid defeat.
Alexander Meier has remained adamant that a Bayern player will finish as top scorer this term and with Arjen Robben unable to stop finding the the net at present, it’s hard to disagree with the Eintracht Frankfurt striker. Robben’s brace against HSV drew him level with Meier at the top of the scoring charts and the Dutchman will be confident of adding to his 14 league goals on Saturday.
Andre Breitenreiter (SC Paderborn coach): “I’m proud of the fact that our fans can watch the best team in the world playing at little Paderborn.”
Pep Guardiola (r., FC Bayern coach): "We have a lot of respect for them. They're dangerous opposition with good organisation."
Neither side has enjoyed the best of starts to the 2014/15 Rückrunde: Bayern’s rout of Hamburg was only their second win in four league games since the turn of the year, while Paderborn’s victory over Hannover was their first win since Matchday 10, when they beat Hertha Berlin 3-1 at home.
The Matchday 5 meeting at the Allianz Arena was the first competitive encounter between the two sides. Despite playing well for large parts parts of the game, Paderborn eventually slumped to a 4-0 defeat in Munich, with Mario Götze (2), Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller grabbing the goals.
Paderborn: Kruse - Wemmer, Rafa Lopez, Hünemeier, Brückner - Rupp - Koc, Bakalorz, Vrancic, Meha - Kachunga
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, J. Boateng, Badstuber, Alaba - Schweinsteiger - Robben, M. Götze, T. Müller, Ribery - Lewandowski