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Bayern Munich returned to winning ways with an impressive victory last weekend
Julian Nagelsmann’s side remain top of the table in a tight Bundesliga title race
Stuttgart ended their long winless run by getting the better of Koln in their last game
The odds for Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich are provided by the FanDuel sportsbook, where a $1000 no sweat bet is available to punters.
The relegation-threatened side have a decent record of finding the back of the net, but they will struggle to avoid defeat by the champions.
Back Bayern Munich to beat Stuttgart and both teams to score. (+137)
They needed that. Bayern Munich fans went into last weekend’s game against Union Berlin with a degree of trepidation. They had dropped points in four of their previous six league matches, a run that blew the Bundesliga title race wide open. A defeat by Union would have seen them knocked off the top spot.
Instead, Bayern delivered one of their strongest showings of the season. The points were essentially in the bag by half-time, as goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Kingsley Coman and Jamal Musiala gave Julian Nagelsmann’s men a 3-0 lead at the interval. The scoreline remained unchanged in the second period, giving Bayern a pivotal win.
The performance was just as impressive as the result. Bayern simply blew Union away in the first half. They managed to play with both control and abandon, flooding players forward in attack without ever really being countered.
It was a completely dominant first-half display which allowed Bayern to take their foot off the gas after the interval.
True, the fact they were not in action in midweek while Union Berlin faced Ajax in the Europa League on Thursday helped. But even so, it was a performance that underlined why, despite their inconsistency this season, Bayern are still a formidable team when everything clicks.
Yet Nagelsmann’s side cannot afford to sit too comfortably at the summit of the standings. They are above Borussia Dortmund on goal difference alone. Union are just three points back, while RB Leipzig’s deficit to first place is just four points. At least one of those teams could push Bayern all the way.
“Nothing has been decided in the table today,” Nagelsmann admitted after the match.
“But we set a certain benchmark for ourselves. I’m very happy with the performance, we only conceded two chances. The boys trained very well this week and implemented everything on the pitch today.”
This has been a tough season for Stuttgart. Only Schalke have won fewer games than die Roten, yet they remain outside the bottom three for now. That is thanks to a 3-0 victory over Koln last weekend which brought to an end a six-match winless run.
It is no surprise that Stuttgart are battling against relegation this term. They finished 15th last season, above the demotion play-off spot-on goal difference alone. Stuttgart are also 15th at the time of writing - and again, they are above the play-off place on goal difference.
Bruno Labbadia was appointed as the replacement for interim manager Michael Wimmer during the break for World Cup 2022. There were positives to take from his first two games at the helm, back-to-back draws with Mainz and Hoffenheim, but three consecutive defeats thereafter dented Stuttgart’s confidence.
That is why it was so important that they got the better of Koln, another side in the bottom half of the table, last time out. To have done so in such a convincing fashion must have been particularly pleasing for Labbadia, who will have been delighted to get off the mark in his new role.
Given they were victorious last time out, Stuttgart would have hoped for a much kinder fixture to follow it up with. But their season will not be defined by how they get on against Bayern Munich, so Labbadia and his players will see Saturday’s game as something of a free hit.
Despite the fact the gap has narrowed at the top of the table since the winter break, the best online sportsbooks still have Bayern down as strong favorites to win the title.
That is partly because they have more strength in depth than their fellow contenders, partly because this group knows what it takes to win the biggest trophies, and partly because underlying numbers such as expected goals suggest they have been the division’s top-performing side by some distance this season.
After such a comprehensive victory over Union Berlin, Bayern will be looking to put together a winning run ahead of their crunch clash with Borussia Dortmund at the start of April.
However, it could be worth backing Stuttgart to score in this one. They have done so in all but two of their league games at home since mid-August, while Bayern have not kept a clean sheet on the road since before the World Cup.
However, it is hard to see Naglesmann’s side slipping up against relegation contenders, despite Stuttgart’s morale-boosting defeat of Koln in their last outing. Go for an away win and goals at both ends.
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Teams: Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich
Location: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany.
Time: Mar. 4, 2023, 12.30 p.m. 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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