Wolfsburg 1-3 Bayern Munich: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Bavarians Get Back to Winning Ways

?Bayern Munich relieved the pressure on under-fire manager Niko Kova? as they defeated Wolfsburg 3-1 at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Bavarians, who came into the game following consecutive Bundesliga defeats, went in front in the 30th minute through striker Robert Lewandowski, who then doubled his side’s lead, three minutes after the restart.

Arjen Robben was dismissed for the visitors after receiving a second yellow card in the 57th minute, and the home side took advantage, reducing the deficit when Wout Weghorst latched onto substitute Admir Mehmedi’s first-time cross to tap-in.

However, the away side regained their two-goal cushion when Lewandowski found James Rodríguez, who curled home first-time to beat Koen Casteels at his near-post, to seal the victory and bring an end to a four-game winless run in all competitions.

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


WOLFSBURG

Key Talking Point

Having failed to win in their previous five competitive matches, Wolfsburg were lacking confidence. They got into some promising positions in the first-half, but lacked the cutting-edge in the final-third.

The defenders looked out of sorts and were chasing shadows for the most part, which was evident when Lewandowski showed great desire to latch onto Mats Hummels’ pass, unchallenged, and then slot home through the legs of Casteels.

Die Wölfe didn’t learn their lesson in the second-half, when William wasn’t assured enough in his headed back-pass, which allowed Lewandowski to sneak in and slot home his second of the game.

The home side initially did well to make use of the extra man after Robben was sent off. They utilised the space and got the ball out wide for substitute Mehmedi, whose cross was guided into the net by Weghorst, who pulled a goal back.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Koen Casteels (7); William (5), Knoche (6), Brooks (6), Roussillon (6); Arnold (6), Rexhbeçaj (6), Gerhardt (6); Steffen (6), Weghorst (7), Brekalo (6)

Substitutes: Mehmedi (6), Mall? (5), Ginczek (5)


STAR MAN – Casteels produced some terrific saves in the first-half to deny Rodríguez and Joshua Kimmich and then made a few stops from Lewandowski in the second-half. He was beaten at his near-post for Bayern’s third, but he wasn’t helped out by his Wolfsburg defenders. The keeper was the main reason the scoreline was as it was.

WORST PLAYER – William was too casual. He showed glimpses of his defensive capability, but was at fault for Bayern’s second of the match. He didn’t show enough care in his headed back-pass, which ultimately led to Lewandowski slotting home.


?BAYERN MUNICH

Key Talking Point

With the pressure mounting on manager Kova? after a disappointing run of results, Bayern required a big performance against Wolfsburg. The international break looked to have come at the right time for the Bavarians, who looked re-energised and more sharp on the ball. There was a fluidity in their game, with players looking to make runs off the ball and open up space for their creative stars such as Thiago, who was involved in Bayern’s opener.

The Spaniard allowed Mats Hummel’s pass to run past him and into the path of Lewandowski, who slotted home through the legs of Costeels and into the bottom-corner of the near-post.

The Bavarians looked a threat from the right flank, where Kimmich and Robben were operating and they combined well on a few occasions, with Casteels producing some fine saves, most notably when the Dutchman found Rodríguez, whose effort was smothered behind, a minute after Kova?’s men took the lead.

Lewandowski looked hungry, as demonstrated by his first goal: where he made a terrific run to latch onto a through-ball, he then reacted with fine instincts for his second of the match. He seized onto William’s headed-pass, which was just short of keeper Casteels, and slotted home, clinically.

As good as Robben’s attacking display was, he showed a lack of discipline. He was booked for simulation in the first-half and received a second yellow card and his marching-orders for a foul on Elvis Rexhbeçaj.

Despite conceding. they looked focused and went in search of another goal, which they found when Rodríguez was sent through on-goal by Lewandowski, and slotted home past Casteels.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Neuer (6); Kimmich (6), Süle (5), Hummels (6), Alaba (5); Martínez (6); Robben (5), Thiago (6), Rodríguez (7); Gnabry (6), Lewandowski (8*)

Substitutes: Rafinha (6) Sanches (N/A) Goretzka (5)


STAR MAN – Lewandowski looked more like his usual self. He got into space and made some terrific runs off the ball, showing a cool head in front of the net, demonstrated by his first goal, which saw him slot the ball through the legs of the keeper.

He was also ruthless, taking advantage of a defensive error from William to seize onto the loose ball and slot home.

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In addition, he linked-up well with his teammates, playing the simple pass, while also picking out players in space. He provided the assist for Rodríguez, picking out the Colombian in an onside position, from which the former Monaco man couldn’t miss. 

WORST PLAYER – Robben showed his disappointing other side in today’s match. Usually such a bright player with great quality on the ball, he showed his ugly dimension – diving, which he tends to do on several occasions, to receive his first yellow card, before then needlessly fouling Rexhbeçaj deep in his opposition’s half.

His absence initially cost the Bavarians, who conceded shortly after his dismissal, and against better opposition, it could’ve been worse. However, they hung on to seal the win.


Looking Ahead

Next up for Wolfsburg is a trip to Fortuna Düsseldorf, who sit at the bottom of the Bundesliga.

As for Bayern, they travel to AEK Athens in the UEFA Champions League, hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the competition, before a trip to Mainz in the league.

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The 20 Most Valuable Players in World Football Right Now

The world’s most expensive player. It’s not quite the Ballon d’Or. It’s certainly not the World Cup. But we’re all still kind of obsessed with it, right?

Neymar’s €222m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain shattered the previous world record in 2017 and looks set to last for a while as the highest price forked out for one player.

However, who sits at the top of the tree for value rather than fee?

Here are the current top 20 most valued footballers in the world right now, as judged by Transfermarkt.

20. Robert Lewandowski – £76.5m

Club: Bayern Munich

Age: 30

Sneaking in at the end of the list – ahead of the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Ousmane Dembele – is Polish goal machine Robert Lewandowski.

If you were after a traditional centre-forward, you wouldn’t look much further than the 30-year-old. Clinical in the air, cool one-on-one, and even adept from set pieces, the Bayern striker guarantees you goals. 

19. Gareth Bale – £81m

Club: Real Madrid

Age: 29

A decade ago, you would have got laughed out of the room if you tried to tell a Spurs fan that Gareth Bale (who famously went months seeking his first Tottenham win) would one day become the world’s most expensive player. 

But in 2013, following an £85.3m move to Real Madrid, that’s just what has happened. Injuries have slowed his career recently but he’s still a world-beater and still valued at £81m.

18. Paul Pogba (£81m)

Club: Manchester United

Age: 25

Famously, the one who got away from Sir Alex Ferguson at Man Utd. 

However, perhaps more famously, he was the one who returned to Old Trafford in 2016 for a world record £89m fee. 

He’s divisive, Paul Pogba’s also world class. 

17. Raheem Sterling (£81m)

Club: Manchester City

Age: 23

Raheem Sterling was always tipped to be a top footballer ever since his days as a youth player at QPR.

Often harshly criticised for his lack of the clinical touch, Sterling is still one of Pep Guardiola’s most trusted and valuable attacking assets – the same goes for Gareth Southgate’s England. 

16. Leroy Sané – £81m

Club: Manchester City

Age: 21

Much like Sterling – also valued at at £81m – Leroy Sané is one of Pep Guardiola’s sharpest weapons. 

Blessed with blistering pace and quick feet to match, Sané can scythe through any opposition defence in the world if he’s in the mood. 

Most of the world are still wondering how he was left out of Germany’s 2018 World Cup squad.

15. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – £81.00m

Club: Lazio

Age: 23

Now this writer is not going to say he saw the relatively unheard of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic playing for Serbia in the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand back in 2015, but he did.

And SMS was marvellous. He won the tournament with that team, picking up the Bronze Ball award along the way. 

At Lazio, Milinkovic-Savic is quickly becoming one of the hottest properties in European football. Valued at £81m, expect him to move to a top team for a massive fee soon enough, with potential coming at a premium in today’s market. 

14. Mauro Icardi – £85.5m

Club: Inter

Age: 25

Mauro Icardi has been about as talismanic as it gets for Inter in the past few years.

With over a century of goals for the Italian club, and now team captain, Icardi has taken steps to becoming a club legend, despite a rift with club Ultras over an ill-advised section of his book.

Oh, and he’s still only 25.

13. Cristiano Ronaldo – £90m

Club: Juventus

Age: 33

Being 13th placed on this list probably quite upsets Cristiano Ronaldo, but he can take solace in knowing that he secured a €100m transfer to Juventus in the summer – which is easily the highest transfer fee ever paid on a player in his thirties. 

The five time Ballon d’Or winner just loves scoring goals, and goals are more valuable than anything in football. 

12. Romelu Lukaku – £90m

Club: Manchester United

Age: 25

Romelu Lukaku is occasionally criticised for not being the most nimble of footballers. But when you look at his goal scoring feats those observations do seem a little redundant. 

At just 25, he’s already Belgium’s all time top scorer. What more do you want?!

11. Dele Alli – £90m

Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Age: 22

An integral member of Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham revolution, Dele Alli burst onto the scene in 2015/16 when we was voted the season’s PFA Young Player of the Year. 

His chemistry with Harry Kane has helped turn Spurs into genuine title contenders and a fully fledged member of the Champions League club. 

10. Paulo Dybala – £99m

Club: Juventus

Age: 24

Valued at a cool £99m, Dybala falls just short of that magical £100m mark. 

If he is to raise his price tag, he’ll probably have to adapt well to life in the inevitable shadow of new teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. However, expect the Argentine to be more than capable of doing just that.

9. Philippe Coutinho – £108m

Club: Barcelona

Age: 26

After stagnating just a little at Inter, Coutinho reignited his career during a show-stopping spell at Anfield. 

It takes quite something to look impressive alongside Lionel Messi, but since his high-profile January move to Barcelona, the Brazilian has fitted in so seamlessly you might have thought he was educated in La Masia. 

8. Antoine Griezmann – £108m

Club: Atletico Madrid

Age: 27

It’s almost been an award in itself over the past decade: the best player in the world after Messi and Ronaldo. 

At times, Antoine Griezmann has been a strong contender for this role. 

With a World Cup under his belt – and Ronaldo and Messi ageing – it might just be time for the Frenchman to kick on and become the world’s best in his own right. 

7. Eden Hazard – £135m

Club: Chelsea

Age: 27

In world football, Eden Hazard might just be the most enjoyable player to watch right now. 

Having fun under new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, and fresh off a fine world Cup performance with Belgium, Hazard really does seem to has his tail up of late. 

He seems happy enough at Chelsea, but if Real Madrid come calling no one would be surprised to see him dazzle in Spain with Los Blancos. 

6. Kevin De Bruyne – £135m

Club: Manchester City

Age: 27

Chelsea fans must shudder every time they think about how Jose Mourinho just let De Bruyne leave London. Well, Chelsea fans probably do a lot of shuddering when they think about former players like that these days. 

KDB led City to a record-breaking century of league points last season. He’ll be back from injury soon enough to remind you just how good he is. 

5. Harry Kane – £135m

Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Age: 25

‘Arise, Sir Harry.’ For a minute there, it really did seem possible, didn’t it? With Harry Kane leading the line, you can hardly blame England fans for getting ahead of themselves last summer. 

He’s looked a little out of sorts since his Golden Boot heroics at the World Cup, but he’s still banging in the goals on a regular basis. 

4. Mohamed Salah – £135m

Club: Liverpool

Age: 26

Who would have thought it, huh? Mohamed Salah as one of the greatest forwards in the world. Mohamed Salah as the guy to break Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of most goals in a 38 game season. He managed 32 all up. 

You can’t help but like the Egyptian and you can’t help but hope he discovers his magic touch soon, after a difficult start to 2018/19.

3. Kylian Mbappé – £135m

Club: Paris Saint-Germain

Age: 19

Kylian Mbappé is still only 19. That’s just not fair. He’s won a World Cup! He even scored in the final! He’s already almost completed football! 

The game probably hasn’t seen a player of this quality emerge onto the scene since Leo Messi, or maybe even Pelé. Just imagine the career this guy is going to have…

2. Lionel Messi – £162m

Club: Barcelona

Age: 31

The £162m valuation seems almost funny. Leo Messi is literally priceless. Arguably the greatest player of all time, Messi is a joy to watch. 

It’s a privilege to be part of his footballing generation (even as fan). It may be nice to see Leo spread his wings and play club football somewhere else, but, no matter the price, you can’t imagine him ever leaving Barcelona for another team in Europe. 

1. Neymar – £162m

Club: Paris Saint-Germain

Age: 26

You can’t really argue with Neymar being valued as the world’s most expensive player. After all, his €222m move to PSG did literally make him just that. 

He’s been at the top for a while now, but you just wonder if others will catch him up before he can surpass the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. Regardless, Neymar is an exceptional talent; at 26 he could conceivably be coming into the best years of his career. 

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Bayern Munich Blast Critical Media in Extraordinary Press Conference & Threaten Legal Action

?Bayern Munich have confirmed their intention to take a strong stand against the media in light of what they see as excessive criticism of individual players and untruths in recent weeks, even threatening to pursue legal action where they see stories constituting ‘fake news’.

At a press conference featuring president Uli Hoeness, chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and head coach Niko Kovac, the club took a clear stand.

The trio also took the opportunity to confirm their ongoing support for Kovac after poor recent results have led to seemingly wrongful claims that the Croatian could be sacked.

“I was accused of not publicly defending Niko Kovac. For that I have to clarify something. Why? We appreciate his work. We do not have to publicly back ourselves. This is disrespectful and outrageous, what happens here. This club will now unite in public again,” Hoeness is quoted as saying by Goal.

On the subject of fighting untruths in the media, the president added, “I think it’s about time that the biggest club in Germany takes a clear stance on this issue.”

Rummenigge, who addressed criticism directed at Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, stated, “We at Bayern have decided that we will no longer accept this recent kind of media coverage.”

Salihamidzic described the recent criticism as ‘unacceptable’, explaining, “Our players are self-critical. Questioning the work of the entire club so quickly is not acceptable. I will always defend my players and my coach.”

The bold step to address the issue of the media so head on in such a clear and public manner has been met with bewilderment and criticism.

talkSPORT and ESPN journalist Matt Scott tweeted, “Indignation at media criticism from a demonstrably underperforming side that has grown accustomed to winning. The extraordinary entitlement of Bayern Munich.

“Now they’re going to sue you if they don’t like what you write! This is breathtaking.”

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Picking the Best Potential Bayern Munich Lineup to Face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday

Bayern Munich travel south to face Wolfsburg on Saturday afternoon, where both sides will attempt to win their first game since September. 

The Bavarian club will be looking to end a four-game winless run in all competitions, which includes a 2-0 loss to Hertha BSC and a 0-3 hammering to a rejuvenated Borussia Mönchengladbach side.  

Wolfsburg, who have plenty of problems of their own, will be hoping to arrest their current slump to prevent going six games without a win.  

Coach Niko Kovac will be desperate for an empathic win to put an end to this bad run of form so expect a strong lineup. 

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Manuel Neuer (GK) – Against the Netherlands, Neuer made a terrible error of judgement which allowed Virgil van Dijk to head the Dutch into the lead. Despite the German’s poor form it is unlikely he will be replaced by the error-prone Sven Ulreich.

Joshua Kimmich (RB) – The right back has played every minute under Niko Kovac. His energy, willingness to get forward, passing range, tactical flexibility and astute defensive mind makes him indispensable to this side.

Niklas Süle (CB) – Jerome Boateng, who was awful against the Netherlands, is a doubt for this game. Süle is likely to come in for his German teammate like he did against France where he put in a decent performance against the world champions. 

Mats Hummels (CB) – The defender had a torrid time over the international break where he conceded a penalty against France. Hummels will be looking to forget what happened for the national side and focus on Bayern.    

David Alaba (LB) – The Austrian defender, who picked up a slight muscle tear in the loss to Mönchengladbach, took part in first team training on Wednesday. The versatile 26-year-old is one of Bayern’s most reliable players. 

2. Midfielders

Thiago Alcântara (CM) – The Spaniard has been the most consistent player for Bayern Munich this season. He has adapted well to Kovac’s instructions in his new, slightly deeper  midfield position. 

Javi Martínez (CM) – With Leon Goretzka only just returning to training Martínez provides a solid option to bring into the side. The Spaniard offers his side defensive stability and the aggression Kovac so desires. 

James Rodríguez (CAM) – James was Bayern’s best performer over the international break, putting in commanding displays for Colombia. Those games will be a big confidence boost and will have shown Kovac the type of output his side has been lacking recently.

3. Forwards

Arjen Robben (RW) – Having retired from international football in 2017, the 34-year-old will have welcomed the break and should be raring to go. The Dutch winger is as important to this Bayern side as ever, still providing the pace and penetration he always has. 

Robert Lewandowski (ST) – Without a goal in five games for club and country, the striker will be salivating at the prospect of roaring back to form against opponents he has tormented in recent times. Poland’s captain boasts 16 goals in 15 Bundesliga games against Wolfsburg.

Franck Ribéry (LW) – The Frenchman has been getting chances this season despite not  scoring once this campaign. Ribéry has also retired from international football and hopefully the break has allowed him some time to sharpen up his finishing.

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Wolfsburg vs Bayern Munich Preview: How to Watch, Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More

Bayern Munich will look to end a four-game winless run in all competitions on Saturday when they travel to the Volkswagen Arena to face a struggling Wolfsburg side.

Bayern’s trip to Wolfsburg this weekend could represent one of the last chances for under pressure coach Niko Kovac to turn things around for the German champions.

The Bavarians, who have won the last six league titles in Germany’s top flight, sit in sixth place on 13 points, four adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund.


However Wolfsburg, who only maintained their ?Bundesliga status last season by beating Holstein Kiel in the relegation play-off, have problems of their own. The Wolves are enduring a five-game winless streak.

This may seem to be the perfect time to play ?Bayern, but Wolfsburg have lost their last four matches on home turf against the 2017/18 champions. Plus, Bruno Labbadia has lost 12 of his 13 meetings with Bayern as a coach, the only exception being back in 2009. 

When?? Saturday 20 October @ 14:30 (BST)?
?Where? ?Volkswagen Arena
?How Can I Watch? BeIN Sports?

Classic Encounter

FC Bayern Muenchen v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga

One of the most memorable games played between these two sides in recent years was back in September 2015.

Wolfsburg took an unlikely lead in the 26th minute against Pep Guardiola’s side. After half-time Guardiola took off Thiago Alcântara, replacing him with Robert Lewandowski. It took the Polish striker five minutes to get his first and in the following nine minutes bagged four more. Five goals, nine minutes, job done.

The second half substitute recorded the fastest three, four, and five goals scored by one player in Bundesliga history.

Fast forward three years and the striker has not scored in his last six games for club and country, his last strike came against ?Schalk?e back in September. Questions are now being asked, albeit prematurely, about Lewandowski’s goalscoring ability at the highest level. 


Key Battles 

Marcel Tisserand vs James Rodríguez

FC Schalke 04 v VfL Wolfsburg - DFB Cup

During the international break, ?Rodriguez played superbly in a narrow right-sided position for Colombia against the USA. The South American curled in a beautiful goal in the match and registered an assist.

Against Wolfsburg, James will be hoping to play in his favoured position behind the striker, although Kovac has played him on the right at times this season. If James ends up behind the striker, then it will be the responsibility of Tisserand to pick him up.

Tisserand is a centre back by trade but Labbadia has been playing him in a defensive midfield position with Ignacio Camacho out. It will be his job to prevent James popping up in space around the box looking to thread a pass or take aim at goal. 

Jérôme Roussillon vs Arjen Robben

FC Bayern Muenchen v Ajax - UEFA Champions League Group E

The Dutch winger remains a key figure for Bayern Munich and with three goals in six league appearances he is still a major threat to opposition full backs.

The full back Robben hopes to be troubling this weekend is Frenchman Jérôme Roussillon. The left-back moved to the Bundesliga in the summer after impressing at Montpellier.

Labbadia will be hoping that his left back can exploit the space left in behind Robben and make overlapping runs to cause Bayern’s defence issues. However, Roussillon will also have Joshua Kimmich’s surging runs to prevent. Containing both the German and Dutchman will be a big test for the 25-year-old.


Team News


For Wolfsburg, central midfielders Josuha Guilavogui and Ignacio Camacho miss out, while new signing Felix Klaus is still sidelined with injury.

Jerome Boateng is a doubt for Bayern after suffering a calf complaint on international duty with Germany. Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso are definitely out, but Leon Goretzka and Rafinha are training with the first team again following injury.


Predicted Lineups

Wolfsburg (4-3-3): Casteels; William, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon; Malli, Tisserrand, Arnold; Steffen, Weghorst, Brekalo.

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba; Thiago, Martinez; Robben, James, Ribéry; Lewandowski.


Prediction

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga

Wolfsburg sit in ninth, have won as many as they have lost, trail Bayern by four points, and have conceded three more goals than the Bavarian side. They also finished 16th in both the 2016/17 and 2017/18 campaigns.

They have an inadequate squad and their issues have been ongoing for the past few years, and while Bayern are struggling their squad is still probably the strongest in the division and should prove too much for Wolfsburg.

Prediction: Wolfsburg 1-3 Bayern Munich

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