Bavarian Derby Clash in Franconia

Nuremberg host Augsburg while Bayern Munich travel to take on Kaiserslautern

Munich - Over the past season, the Bundesliga top flight has only had two Bavarian Derby matches per season.  With the promotion of FC Augsburg, that number will triple this season.  And the first one is this weekend, as the Augsburg side will travel to northern Bavaria (known as Franconia) to take on 1.FC Nürnberg.

Both teams started off the season well, Nuremberg with a 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin in week 1 and Augsburg two draws in their first matches in the top flight.  Since then, three confidence building losses, but losses nonetheless.  The derby match will be a chance for either club to climb out of the bottom of the table.

(Editor's Note: follow the action from the first Bavarian Derby of the new season between Nuremberg and Augsburg on Twitter @sal_TMT_sports)

Nuremberg will have the advantage of playing at home and welcome the return to their top scoring threat, Tomas Peckhart.  "Der Club" have only scored twice this season, both by Peckhart.  The 22-year-old Czech injured his knee mid-week, but was cleared earlier Friday.  Top goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer remains out for the second consecutive week.  Patrick Rakovsky made his debut against defending league champs Borussia Dortmund last week will start in goal. 

Despite a two-match losing streak, head coach Dieter Hecking remains positive.  "We only have ourselves to blame for not making the most of our chances," referring to the close defeats to Hannover and Dortmund.  "We are satisfied with our effort so far at the beginning of the season, but definitely not our points so far."

Meanwhile, FC Augsburg will try to earn their first win ever in the Bundesliga and what better stage than a Derby.  Augsburg were game last week but were outhustled by Hoffenheim.  "We will show how we've further developed and grown as a team," promised head coach Jos Luhukay. 

To prove that, Luhukay will need offensive support from more than just Sasha Mölders, who has scored all three of his team's goals.  Daniel Baier was quite active last week on the offensive side, and Hecking has noticed.  "If we take Mölders and Baier out of the match, we'll be a step ahead in the match."

This will be an exciting match, expect lots of goals, Nuremberg should outlast Augsburg 3-2.  Kickoff at easyCredit Stadium is at 15:30 CET.

Bayern Munich look to fly without Robben - The German record champs got dealt a tough draw in the Champions League, and if they are to be successful in Europe's top club competition, they will need Arjen Robben.  But for this weekend, the club will be without Robben and look to their other weapons as they travel to 1.FC Kaiserslautern.

Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez will need to cover for the injured Arjen Robben.  Photo courtest FC Bayern
Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez will need to cover for the injured Arjen Robben. Photo courtest FC Bayern
Robben has been key to Bayern's success, scoring key goals during their run to the Champions League final two seasons ago.  And recently has been the spark in their offensive game plan... when he's healthy. 

Robben did not play in their return leg against FC Zurich and Bayern scored only once but it was good enough to earn a spot in the Champions League group phase.  And if they are to make it back to the final, this time it will be in Munich, their hopes will lie with the health of Robben. 

Head coach Jupp Heynckes' words indicate that leaving Robben out is a precautionary move to allow his start player enough time to fully recover.  "I know from my playing days, if we don't treat the injury now, it will be very difficult," recalled Heynckes.  "If (Robben) keeps playing hurt, the pain will continue in the long run."

Bayern are confident heading into the match, having won all their matches after their opening weekend defeat.  After signing top goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and central defender Jerome Boateng, the two made an inauspicious debut, miscommunicating on a freak goal against Borussia Monchengladbach.  Since that score, Neuer has had four clean sheets.  Kaiserslautern are good for one goal on Saturday at their home arena, but Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller, and Co. will win 3-1 comfortably.

Kickoff at Fritz Walter Stadium is at 15:30 CET.


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