Seven-times defending champions Bayern kick off the 2018/19 German Bundesliga season on Friday night when they welcome Hertha Berlin to Munich in what looks like a lopsided fixture on paper.
Group League Table Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Key Stat: Despite having lost just nine of 67 prior fixtures against Hertha, Bayern have only managed to win once in normal time in the last six.
Expert Verdict: Bayern have laboured of late against Hertha Berlin, and they come off the back of a slow start last term, as well as having lost to Borussia Dortmund to start the 'official' season in the Super Cup. But it’s hard to see them not coming out and making a statement to begin the year. They usually have quite a good track record in this situation, and being at home will only serve to help them. Bayern grabbing a few goals would be no surprise at all.
Niko Kovac played a couple of non-regular starters in the win over Energie on Monday, so you can expect to see them being restored to normal order. Lucas Hernandez came on late, so he’s likely to get his first start here for them.
To one one’s surprise, it didn’t take too long for Robert Lewandowski to get firing. The Polish striker didn’t score against former club BVB in the Super Cup, but he scored just after the half hour mark against Energie to get off and running. He’s their main weapon, and you never know when he’ll score a bundle. Leon Goretzka came off the bench in the victory, but he impressed in the time allotted to him, assisting for their second goal as they worked hard, and then scoring with five minutes ago to effectively seal it.
Bayern have three wins, a loss, and a draw in their last five matches:
1-3 win at Energie Cottbus (DFB Pokal)
2-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund (Super Cup)
2-2 draw, penalty loss vs Tottenham (Fri)
6-1 home win vs Fenerbahce (Fri)
1-0 win vs AC Milan (Fri)
Defenders:Kimmich, Sule, Hernandez, Alaba
Midfielders:Tolisso, Thiago, Goretzka
Forwards:Muller, Coman, Lewandowski
Ante Covic has a team chalked full of experienced campaigners in it, and he’s now added the likes of Marko Grujic to it to make it even stronger. Teenage midfielder Julian Albrecht will miss out due to an ankle injury, but they otherwise look healthy and ready to go.
Eichstatt got the old one-two done to them on Sunday, with Vedad Ibisevic scoring the second of the game just a minute after they had grabbed their lead. The lethal Bosnian then grabbed his brace 20 minutes later, before giving an assist, to help them ease to a comfortable win. Center midfielder Vlad Darida also got off to a quick start, scoring the aforementioned opener and asserting himself in the middle of the park. It’ll be tougher here against Bayern, but they’ll need him to be commanding to have a real chance at it.
Hertha have three wins, a loss, and a draw in their last five matches:
1-5 win at Eichstatt (DFB Pokal)
0-4 win vs Crystal Palace (Fri)
3-5 loss vs West Ham (Fri)
2-1 win vs Fenerbahce (Fri)
1-1 draw vs Bochum (Fri)
Defenders:Stark, Rekik, Torunarigha
Midfielders:Leckie, Grujic, Darida, Mittelstadt
Forwards:Duda, Ibisevic, Kalou
In 67 meetings, Bayern have largely dominated the tie with 39 wins and 19 draws. They’ve only lost to Hertha Berlin nine times in that span.
Here's a look at the last five results:
Feb 23, 2019: Bayern 1-0 Hertha
Feb 6, 2019: Hertha 2-3 (AET) Bayern (DFB Pokal)
Sep 28, 2018: Hertha 2-0 Bayern
Feb 24, 2018: Bayern 0-0 Hertha
Oct 1, 2017: Hertha 2-2 Bayern
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Bayern Munich are at 2/11, a draw is at 6/1, and a Hertha win is at 12/1.
Bayern have began their season with a mixed bag of sorts. They started with a loss at Dortmund in which they were decimated the Yellow and Black for large periods. They then, unsurprisingly, turned around and defeated Energie Cottbus in the first round of their DFB Pokal run. They won that competition last year, so it would have been a huge shock for them to go out so soon. There is a lot of pressure upon the shoulders of Niko Kovac, and you can’t believe he or his side can afford another slow start this season.
Hertha Berlin began their ‘official’ season with an emphatic win at Eichstatt at the weekend. Their 1-5 win over their smaller and inferior opponents, though, shouldn’t be looked into too much. Bayern are a wholly different proposition and will have scores of supporters getting in their faces. After an 11th placed finish last term in the Bundesliga, they will hope to kick and not be so middling under new manager Ante Covic. They’ll be hoping to be much closer to European places, that’s for sure.
Lewandowski to score two or more can be had for 2.7 via Betfair.
Ladbrokes both sides scoring at 21/20.
Hertha were one of the teams that just hung in there last season, and typically those are not the teams that cause Bayern problems- especially away from home. Bayern get off to a strong start under Kovac in the Bundesliga here.