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Bayern Munich got back to winning ways last time out following a run of draws
Bochum started the season terribly but they have rallied in the last few months
Bayern Munich should come out on top, but a clean sheet could be beyond them
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The Bundesliga champions should come through this game unscathed, but a clean sheet could elude them once again.
Back Bayern Munich to beat Bochum and both teams to score. (+118)
It is a measure of expectations at Bayern Munich that the team could be said to be in crisis on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run. That was the situation following the 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of January, a result which extended Bayern’s lossless streak but was also their third stalemate on the bounce.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side certainly made a slow start following German soccer’s resumption post-World Cup 2022 and post-winter break. Three 1-1 draws in a row suddenly blew the Bundesliga title race wide open, with the reigning champions dropping points against RB Leipzig, Koln, and Frankfurt. A meeting with in-form Wolfsburg last weekend threatened to knock Bayern off the top spot for the first time since November.
However, Nagelsmann’s men returned to winning ways with a 4-2 triumph over the Wolves last time out. It was a more comfortable game for Bayern than the scoreline suggests. They came flying out of the traps in the opening stages, making a real statement of intent by scoring three times in the first 20 minutes.
Even after Joshua Kimmich was shown a red card early in the second half, Bayern were not made to sweat. They scored the next goal of the game to go 4-1 up before Wolfsburg pulled one back late on.
The win will have done wonders for Bayern’s confidence, even though their lead at the summit of the standings is still just a single point. Indeed, it remains very top at the top: a margin of just six points separates Bayern in first place from Freiburg in sixth.
The Champions League resumes this month, with Nagelsmann’s side due to take on Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their last-16 tie next week. Bayern must not turn their attention to that game too early, however, or they risk handing a boost to the teams around them in the table.
To say that Bochum made a disastrous start to the 2022/23 campaign would be an understatement. After surviving relatively comfortably last season following promotion the previous year, it looked like Bochum were headed back to the 2. Bundesliga after they lost six matches in a row at the beginning of the season.
A 7-0 loss to Bayern formed part of that sequence, but even more damaging was the 3-1 loss to Schalke a few weeks later - especially given how poor the Royal Blues have been throughout the campaign.
By the time October rolled around, Bochum had taken one point from the first 24 available and appeared to be staring relegation in the face. Thomas Reis had already been sacked and Thomas Letsch was installed as his replacement, and the 54-year-old no doubt knew the scale of the task in front of him.
Since his third game in charge, though, Bochum have performed really well. They have only drawn one match all season, but one win is better than two draws and Letsch has guided the side to victory on six occasions, which more than makes up for six defeats he has overseen.
Since a 4-0 thrashing by Leipzig at the start of October, Bochum have taken the eighth-most points in the division. They are now outside the automatic relegation spots and may yet rise into the mid-table. Bochum are not out of the woods just yet, but survival is definitely within reach.
Bayern will hope that their triumph over Wolfsburg last weekend represents a corner turned.
Seven draws in 19 matches is no doubt too many for Nagelsmann’s liking, but the Bundesliga leaders have still only lost one game all season and they remain the overwhelming favorites to win the title with the best online sportsbooks.
Indeed, it would be a brave person to bet against Bayern finishing as champions for the 11th season in a row. It remains to be seen whether the likes of RB Leipzig, Union Berlin, and Borussia Dortmund have the staying power to stick with a team that has been there and done it many times over.
At the same time, Bayern have been far from flawless of late and a run of four games without a clean sheet since the domestic campaign resumed gives Bochum a glimmer of hope on Saturday.
Bayern’s upcoming opponents have drawn a blank in just one of their last six top-flight outings, while they hit five goals past Hoffenheim in their most recent encounter. Back a home win and both teams to score in this one, as Bayern seek to build momentum and Bochum attempt to cause an upset.
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Teams: Bayern Munich vs Bochum
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: Saturday 11 February 2023, 9.30 AM EST
How to Watch: ESPN+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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