Augsburg host Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the visitors looking to end a run of three successive draws by claiming a victory.
The hosts, meanwhile, jumped up the table with a much-needed win against Werder Bremen last Friday.
Indeed, Augsburg had only claimed three points from their first five matches under new manager Enrico Maassen, who is in his first major managerial role having previously led Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team and fourth-tier outfit SV Rodinghausen.
Across the 38-year-old’s four league defeats in charge, Augsburg registered only six shots on target, which they managed to match in one match when claiming a crucial victory away to Bremen last time out.
It was a fiercely contested affair featuring nine yellow cards, with Ermedin Demirovic’s 63rd-minute strike proving to be the difference between the sides as Bremen failed to score yet another injury-time goal to save the day.
While Maaseen will be under no illusions regarding the scale of the task in front of his side on Saturday – even taking into account Bayern’s relatively poor form of late – he will at least be relieved to be heading into the encounter with reduced pressure on his shoulders ahead of the forthcoming international break.
After blitzing the opening weeks of the campaign with 20 goals across four wins in all competitions, Bayern have significantly stuttered in recent weeks, with their 2-2 draw at home to Stuttgart seeing them drop points for the third successive matchday.
Julian Nagelsmann rested several key players – including Sadio Mane, Leroy Sane and Benjamin Pavard – ahead of Tuesday’s test against Barcelona in the Champions League, and that decision backfired when Matthijs De Ligt’s clumsy challenge allowed Serhou Guirassy to convert from the penalty spot and claim a last-gasp equaliser for the visitors.
Bayern did at least beat Barcelona 2-0 in midweek, with two quickfire strikes from Lucas Hernandez and Sane after the break taking the Bavarians to six points from their opening two matches in what many had labelled the ‘Group of Death’ in Europe’s elite competition.
However, they had some rare profligacy in front of goal from their former striker Robert Lewandowski to thank for the victory, with the Pole uncharacteristically snatching at several presentable opportunities.
In their last match prior to the international break, Nagelsmann must ensure that his players’ focus quickly return to domestic matters, as he cannot allow his team to drop any more points if he wishes to avoid significant scrutiny regarding his position at the club.
Augsburg Bundesliga form:
Bayern Munich Bundesliga form:
Bayern Munich form (all competitions):
We say: Augsburg 0-3 Bayern Munich
It would be almost unthinkable for Bayern to drop points in four successive league games, especially considering that they have not really faced any truly difficult opponents during that run.
Augsburg can play with reduced strain having gained a crucial win last time out, but we do not expect them to be able to hold off an angry Bayern outfit determined to head into the international break off the back of a win.