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Three wins on the bounce have put Bayern Munich within touching distance of top spot
Hertha Berlin have won only one of their last seven matches in the Bundesliga
Bayern Munich can climb to the summit of the standings, at least temporarily, with a win
The odds for Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich have been chosen from the FanDuel sportsbook, where you can get a $1000 no-sweat bet by signing up.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side have found form and Hertha Berlin will struggle to contain one of the most productive attacks in European soccer.
Back Bayern Munich to win both halves on Saturday. (+178)
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For a team that has won 10 Bundesliga titles in a row and is expected to finish top of the table as a matter of course, draws are like defeats and defeats are like crises.
So when Bayern Munich went on a four-game winless streak between matchday four and matchday seven, culminating in a 1-0 defeat by Augsburg before the September international break for the conclusion of the Nations League, Julian Nagelsmann suddenly found himself with questions to answer.
Bayern came back from the international pause refreshed and ready to go. Fifth in the table when the Bundesliga resumed, the Bavarians are now up to second after taking 13 points from the last 15 available. In that time they also secured qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League, topping the so-called group of death ahead of Inter, Barcelona, and Vicktoria Plzen. It is fair to say that Bayern have recovered from their early-season slump.
Bayern can put real pressure on league leaders Union Berlin this weekend. Their clash with Hertha takes place a day before Union take to the field against struggling Bayer Leverkusen, so Nagelsmann’s men will move two points clear at the summit of the standings if they win in the capital on Saturday.
Nothing can be taken for granted in soccer, but it would be a huge surprise if Bayern slipped up at the Olympiastadion, against opponents whom they have beaten in each of their last five meetings (including a 4-1 away win in January).
Bayern have scored 13 goals in their last three Bundesliga outings and were at the top of their game - at least in an attacking sense - in a 6-2 thrashing of Mainz last weekend. Nagelsmann’s side are starting to motor as they target first place before the impending break for World Cup 2022.
There are few better cases of a sleeping giant in European soccer than Hertha Berlin. It will be particularly galling for their fans to watch Union, their cross-city rivals and traditionally the smaller of the two clubs, challenging Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga and competing in the Europa League.
For a long time Hertha were Berlin’s only representatives in Germany’s top flight. But unlike other clubs from European capitals - Arsenal and Chelsea, Roma and Lazio, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain (Paris) - they seldom challenged for silverware.
Hertha were last crowned German champions in 1931 and they have never won the DFB-Pokal. That is in spite of their favorable location and the fact they play in the third-largest stadium in the country.
Numerous coaches and directors have pledged their intention to awaken the sleeping giant of the Olympiastadion, but none have succeeded of late. Hertha have not managed so much as a top-half finish in the last five seasons and it looks like that goal could be beyond them this term too: Sandro Schwarz’s side head into this match just two points clear of the relegation play-off spot.
With just one win in their last seven outings, Hertha will not be feeling too confident about their chances of causing an upset against the reigning champions on Saturday. He would never admit it publicly, but in private Schwarz might settle for a slender defeat when Bayern come to town.
During that aforementioned run where Bayern went four games without a win, Nagelsmann’s willingness to sell Robert Lewandowski in the summer was called into question. The Poland international had wanted to seek pastures new, but Bayern could have kept hold of him for another year. Nagelsmann, though, gave his blessing for the sale to Barcelona to go through.
It has taken Bayern a little time to adapt to a post-Lewandowski future, and in certain matches to come they may miss the striker’s ability to conjure something out of nothing inside the penalty area. But given that they are averaging more than three goals per game in the Bundesliga, it is hard to say Bayern are overly missing their erstwhile talisman right now.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has been a surprise inclusion in the starting XI of late, giving Bayern more of a focal point up top. Choupo-Moting distracts opposition center-backs, opening up space for the likes of Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, and Sadio Mane.
By the standards of teams in the bottom half of the table, Hertha actually have a decent defensive record so far this term. Nevertheless, we anticipate this being a reasonably comfortable 90 minutes for Bayern - back the visitors to Berlin to win both halves and go top of the table, at least until Sunday.
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|Teams||Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich|
|Location||Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 5 November 2022, 10.30 AM EDT|
|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]More info on Greg Lea
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