Bayern Munich is facing a crisis heading into Saturday’s Bundesliga game against in-form Hoffenheim, with its Champions League loss to Manchester City and media reports of a row among players casting a shadow on its season targets.
The Bavarians, who lead the Bundesliga standings with 58 points, two ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund with seven matches remaining, suffered a 3-0 quarterfinal first-leg loss at City, which came a week after its shock German Cup last-eight exit at home to Freiburg.
Coach Thomas Tuchel, who replaced sacked Julian Nagelsmann, had little time to settle in the Bavarian capital before frustration and disappointment took over.
Yet Tuchel was brought in because club bosses feared the team’s season goals were in danger with Nagelsmann in charge.
Bayern is out of the German Cup, on the brink of elimination in Europe and the Bundesliga title has become an absolute necessity if is to rescue anything from its campaign.
Reports from Bild and Sky Sports Germany of a changing room row between Sadio Mane and Leroy Sane following its defeat in Manchester, and the online racist abuse of defender Dayot Upamecano after his error that led to City’s second goal, added to the gloom.
Bayern posted its support on Upamecano’s social media but has not commented on the widespread reports of the row as it looks to prepare for Saturday’s game with Hoffenheim, which is on a three-game winning run that has pulled it out of the relegation zone.
“I expect a team that after their 3-0 loss will want to make things right again,” Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner said.
“If you are not alert in Munich, if you don’t press against them and have possession on occasion then it becomes really difficult. Then they crush you.”
Bayern, which hosts City in the return leg on Wednesday, has a superb record against Hoffenheim, having lost just once at home to them.
While its Cup competitions have been disappointing, it remains on track for a record-extending 11th consecutive league crown, having won five of its last six league matches.
Dortmund, hoping to pick up where it left off with its win over third-placed Union Berlin last week, travels to VfB Stuttgart, which is in the relegation playoff spot in 16th.
Union, five points further adrift on 51, hosts VfL Bochum, another club fighting to avoid the drop, while fourth-placed RB Leipzig, on 48, entertains Augsburg.
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