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Shaken Bayern look to bounce back in Berlin after cup thrashing

Bayern Munich boss Hasan Salihamidzic has ordered the shell-shocked Bundesliga leaders to show a response at Union Berlin on Saturday after their historic 5-0 thrashing at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

A full-strength side offered little resistance at Borussia Park on Wednesday as Bayern suffered a club-record defeat in the German Cup. 

Salihamidzic described Bayern’s performance as a ‘collective black out’ and demanded an improvement in east Berlin, where Union are unbeaten in their last 21 home league games. 

“We want to give each other a short shake and step on the gas Saturday,” fumed the Bayern sports director.

Union are the only Bundesliga team who did not lose to Bayern last season when both home and away league games ended in  1-1 draws.

Bayern can expect a tough time at Union’s Alten Foersterei stadium, where they will need to tighten their defence after Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez looked vulnerable on Wednesday.

Urs Fischer’s Union have conceded just two goals in six home games this season.

Aside from Wednesday’s heavy defeat, it has been a week to forget for Bayern.

Hernandez discovered Wednesday morning that he will avoid being jailed in Spain despite violating a restraining order in 2017.

Joshua Kimmich sparked fierce debate in Germany last weekend after admitting he opted not to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

All the while, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann has been isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19.

He has issued instructions remotely and will want to see Union offered less space to attack than Gladbach were allowed. 

“We have to shake our heads now and show a reaction on Saturday,” said Nagelsmann’s assistant coach Dino Toppmoeller.

Meanwhile, Wolfsburg’s new coach Florian Kohfeldt will try to end the club’s run of four straight losses away to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

The 39-year-old was sacked by Werder Bremen following their relegation in May, but replaces Mark van Bommel who Wolfsburg fired as head coach last Sunday.

Having come directly from holiday in Fuerteventura in the Canaries, Kohfeldt oversaw training this week to prepare for Leverkusen, who have slumped to two losses and two draws in their last four games. 

Borussia Dortmund are again without injured star striker Erling Braut Haaland at home to Cologne on Saturday.

Dortmund’s erratic defence will want to subdue Cologne striker Anthony Modeste who scored two goals in Sunday’s draw with Leverkusen and Wednesday’s cup win at Stuttgart.

One to watch: Hugo Novoa

The 18-year-old Spanish centre forward celebrated three firsts this week with RB Leipzig.

Hugo Novoa made his Bundesliga debut off the bench and claimed his first goal in Saturday’s 4-1 league win at Greuther Fuerth, then made his first start in Wednesday’s German Cup 1-0 victory at minnows Babelsberg.

Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch said Novoa was “one of our best players” at Babelsberg where the Spanish teen took “a huge step forward” in his development.

Striker Andre Silva is struggling to finish chances, so Novoa, who joined Leipzig from Deportivo La Coruna in 2019, could get another chance at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Key facts:

49 – years since Bayern’s previous record German Cup defeat when they crashed 5-1 at Cologne in 1972.

10 – the league goals Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has scored this season, making him one of the favourites when the Ballon d’Or winner is named on November 29.  

Nine – league games unbeaten for Freiburg this season, the only team in Germany’s top flight yet to lose ahead of Saturday’s home game against bottom side Greuther Fuerth.

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