Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen – Allianz Arena live at 19:30 on BT Sport 3
The Bayern Munich-Werder Bremen rivalry isn’t what it once was, with the two clubs going in drastically different directions over the past 10 years but, Friday night’s curtain-raiser promises plenty as the Bundesliga returns.
Bayern are bidding for a record fifth consecutive domestic title and the defending champions have continued to bolster one of the continent’s strongest squads. And the Bavarians’ mantra – strengthening while weakening rivals – has been in full force this summer.
Centre-half Mats Hummels made the move from Dortmund to partner Jerome Boateng in arguably one of Europe’s best centre-back partnership. With Manuel Neuer in goal – who boasted the best save success rate (76.8%) in the Bundesliga last term – it’s difficult to imagine FC Hollywood shipping a greater number of goals than the 17 conceded in 2015/16.
Meanwhile, Renato Sanches joins a midfield that’s brimming in world class quality with Robert Lewandowski spearheading Bayern’s fearsome front three. It would take a brave man to bet against Germany’s number one in the outright Bundesliga market.
However, the big change arrives in the dugout. Pep Guardiola departed Munich in May and Carlo Ancelotti arrives in the hot-seat. The Italian has won domestic titles in Italy, France and England and although he vastly varies in style on and off the pitch from his predecessor, the adaptation process should be fairly seamless at the Allianz Arena.
An opening day contest against Werder Bremen shouldn’t have the hosts quaking in their boots with Bayern beating their old rivals from the north in each of their last nine encounters. The most recent five of those showdowns saw Bremen fail to score whilst only once in 14 head-to-heads have Munich’s finest scored fewer than two goals.
It’s a far from ideal first fixture for the visitors with head coach Viktor Skripnik keen to improve on last season’s performance that saw Werder secure survival only on the final afternoon of the campaign.
The guests have seen a big turnover of players this summer and although the addition of Max Kruse stands out, the German international is unavailable for the trip to Bavaria along with three players that accounted for 33 of last season’s 50-goal tally – Claudio Pizzaro, Anthony Ujah and Finn Bartels.
On the road, Bremen W5-D3-L9 last term but a return of 18 defeats in 20 trips to top-four sides since 2011/12 won’t fill visiting fans with confidence, nor will a rather shoddy defence that haemorrhaged 65 goals in 2015/16.
In contrast, Bayern’s have W29-D2-L3 in their last couple of campaigns as hosts and led at the break in 22 of those fixtures, keeping 21 clean sheets. A huge 15 of their wins were by more than a two-goal margin, including 5-0 and 6-0 triumphs over Friday’s opponents.
Another comfortable home Bayern Munich victory should be on the cards at the Allianz Arena; therefore backing the hosts to overcome a -2.5 Asian Handicap looks the best option to take.
During the Pep era, Bayern won all 36 home meetings with bottom-half dwellers, with 16 arriving by three goals or more.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Bayern Munich -2.5 at 1.85
Prices correct at time of writing.
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