Under fire Bayern Munich could not have picked a worse time to face surging outsiders Union Berlin in their surprise Bundesliga top-of-the-table clash on Sunday.
That the German champions’ domestic struggles — Bayern have won just two of their last six in the league — left the door open should not be surprising, but that underdogs Union took up the mantle as challengers certainly is.
The two sides meet in Munich on Sunday locked on 43 points after 21 games, sitting alongside Europe’s most in-form side Borussia Dortmund in first place.
Union could have made the trip south as outright leaders, but they fluffed their lines against bottom side Schalke on Sunday, playing out a 0-0 stalemate.
That will be little consolation to Bayern, who are usually well ahead in the league and focusing on Europe by now.
Club boss Oliver Kahn on Wednesday accused the team of something not normally associated with the 32-time German champions: a lack of greed.
“It’s the decisive phase of the season. It must be our goal to constantly deliver top performances,” the CEO told German sport site Kicker.
“It’s about readiness, it’s about greed, desire and a degree of calm. If we bring that, we’re unbeatable.”
Bayern come into the match without in-form centre back Dayot Upamecano, who is suspended after picking up a red card in his side’s 3-2 loss at Gladbach on Sunday.
Manager Julian Nagelsmann will however be on the sidelines against Union after he beat a suspension for his “spineless” referee rant after the Gladbach loss. The manager, who apologised for the outburst, agreed to pay a 50,000 euro ($53,000) fine instead.
Union boss Urs Fischer, who brought the side up from the second division, showed little disappointment after his team missed their chance to go two points clear on Sunday, reminding his team and the fans how far they have come – and where they are now.
“Beautiful tasks ahead,” the Swiss manager said.
“It’s great. What more do you want?”
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