Bochum vs Bayern Munich: It Is All About Damage Limitation When You Take on the Bundesliga Kings
- Bayern Munich are looking for their third victory at the start of the 2022/23 season
- Bochum are yet to get off the mark and face a tough test against the champions
- Bayern should have little trouble at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion this weekend
Bochum vs Bayern Munich Odds
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|Bayern Munich -1.75||+160 |
|Bayern Munich -2.5||+130 |
Bochum vs Bayern Munich Pick
Back Bayern Munich -2.5 in the Asian handicap
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Bochum vs Bayern Munich Predictions
Bayern Munich Hoping to Establish Lead at Top of the Table
Former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac returned to the Allianz Arena last weekend. The Wolfsburg manager arrived at his old stomping ground with more hope than expectation, as he himself hinted at after the match.
Losing 2-0 against Bayern in Munich is okay, Kovac said. We did well in the first 30 minutes and made it more difficult for them than expected. You have to take the few chances you get to get something here, which we didn’t do. Congratulations to Bayern.
It was a sobering but accurate reflection of what it means to face the perennial German champions, who are seeking their 11th consecutive Bundesliga title this term. Losing by just two goals is now seen as a decent result against Bayern, particularly away from home. Wolfsburg are not exactly minnows either: they were competing in the Champions League last season. Yet while occasional upsets remain possible, particularly in a low-scoring sport like soccer, Bayern will not suffer many of them in 2022/23.
Their victory over Wolfsburg was as routine as they come. The Wolves actually played a more proactive game than was expected, which seemed to take Bayern by surprise early on. But it did not take long for Julian Nagelsmann’s side to adjust, and they soon took control of the encounter. Bayern pushed high up the pitch and counter-pressed effectively, winning the ball back quickly whenever they lost it and pinning Wolfsburg back in their own half.
By half-time the match was essentially over as a contest, with goals from Thomas Muller and Jamal Musiala giving Wolfsburg too much ground to make up. Bayern took their foot off the gas and showed impressive game management in the second half, and Nagelsmann will have been delighted with a first clean sheet of the season. The aim now will be to start opening up a lead at the summit of the standings.
Bochum Aiming to Stay Up but Have Suffered Difficult Start
Nineteen years ago, Bochum finished fifth in the Bundesliga and qualified for the UEFA Cup (which has since been rebranded as the Europa League). It was a fantastic achievement given their previous status as a “yo-yo club” that bounced between the top two tiers of German soccer.
It also proved to the high point for Bochum in the 21st century to date: they were relegated to the 2. Bundesliga the following season, and spent most of the subsequent years in the second division. They finally won another promotion in 2020/21, though, and successfully stayed up last season with a 13th-place finish. They even managed to beat Bayern 4-2 at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion.
A repeat scoreline this weekend is unlikely. Bochum have lost two out of two so far, and only Eintracht Frankfurt have conceded fewer goals. Both defeats were close – 2-1 by Mainz and 3-2 by Hoffenheim – but Thomas Reis will be keen to see his team get off the mark soon, with a tricky trip to Freiburg awaiting next weekend.
Bochum will be out to avoid second-season syndrome this term, but they lost key players in the summer and the early results suggest they are set for a relegation scrap. In that context, a meeting with Bayern is the last thing they need right now.
Bayern Munich Should Stroll to Another Victory on Sunday
It is a manager’s job to make his team more than the sum of its parts, and that is what Nagelsmann will be judged on this season. Bayern would probably win the title whichever formation they played – they did exactly that despite being largely underwhelming under Carlo Ancelotti and the aforementioned Kovac – but there are early signs that Nagelsmann’s 4-2–2-2 system is a good fit for the players now at his disposal.
Musiala in particular has thrived in the first two matches of the season, routinely picking up clever positions between the lines and dovetailing smartly with Muller, Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane.
Even if Bochum manage to keep Musiala quiet on Sunday, they will surely be overwhelmed by Bayern’s other attacking weapons. Equally crucial is the fact that the team no longer seems quite so vulnerable from opposition counter-attacks.
Bochum, then, face an almost impossible task this weekend. As Kovac admitted last time out, it is all about damage limitation when you take on the Bundesliga kings. Having been competitive in both of their first two games of 2022/23, Bochum may fear a thrashing this weekend. Back Bayern -2.5 in the Asian handicap.
Other Soccer Games Happening This Week
Bundesliga: Union Berlin vs RB Leipzig
Premier League: Newcastle vs Man City
Premier League: Manchester United vs Liverpool
La Liga: Real Sociedad vs Barcelona
La Liga: Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal
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How to Watch Bochum vs Bayern Munich
|Teams||Bochum vs Bayern Munich|
|Location||Vonovia Ruhrstadion, Bochum, Germany|
|Time||Sunday, 21 August 2022, 11.30AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
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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]sn.com