Bundesliga Preview: Bayern to start post-Ancelotti era at Hertha

Bayern Munich will begin life after Carlo Ancelotti this weekend, as interim coach Willy Sagnol takes the reins ahead of Sunday's visit to Hertha Berlin. The Bundesliga champion was humiliated in a 3-0 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday, and the club reacted immediately by sacking Ancelotti on Thursday.

Facing criticism from the fans and the media for his failure to accommodate Thomas Mueller, Ancelotti's relationship with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery was also reported to be under strain.   -  AFP

Bayern Munich will begin life after Carlo Ancelotti this weekend, as interim coach Willy Sagnol takes the reins ahead of Sunday's visit to Hertha Berlin.

The Bundesliga champion was humiliated in a 3-0 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday, and the club reacted immediately by sacking Ancelotti on Thursday.

After losing 2-0 away to Hoffenheim and throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Wolfsburg, even Bayern's Bundesliga form has been far from its usual dominance in recent weeks.

Possible successors to Ancelotti

With the club stranded in third place behind Hoffenheim and leader Borussia Dortmund, rumours of growing disharmony in the dressing room had only increased the pressure on Ancelotti.

Facing criticism from the fans and the media for his failure to accommodate Thomas Mueller, Ancelotti's relationship with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery was also reported to be under strain.

'Ancelotti can be my assistant'

As Sagnol takes over for the time being, Bayern will be looking to reboot its season when it travels to Berlin. Here are five things to look out for in the Bundesliga this weekend.

Fresh start for Bayern: Ancelotti was heavily criticised for his team selection against PSG, and Mats Hummels, Robben, Ribery and Jerome Boateng can expect to return to the starting lineup against Hertha.

"I expect a positive development from the team, and an absolute desire to perform," said club chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after Ancelotti's dismissal.

After the result in Paris, nothing but a win will be acceptable for the Bayern hierarchy in Berlin.

Hertha rested several key players for its Europa League clash with Ostersund, and the likes of Karim Rekik, Rune Jarstein, Marvin Plattenhardt and Mathew Leckie are expected to return against Bayern.

Dortmund defending top spot: Victory away to Augsburg on Saturday would keep Borussia Dortmund on top of the Bundesliga, and history speaks in favour of Peter Bosz's side. Dortmund has never lost in Augsburg, while star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored eight goals against it over the years, including a hat-trick on his Bundesliga debut back in 2013.

Aubameyang will start for Dortmund, but Bosz is expected to rest several players who played in the defeat at Real Madrid last Tuesday, including Omer Toprak and Gonzalo Castro.

Unbeaten in its last five games, Augsburg is flying high in fifth, and will be boosted by the return of captain Daniel Baier from a one-match ban.

Leipzig's Werner doubtful for Cologne clash: RB Leipzig may be without star striker Timo Werner when they travel to Cologne on Sunday evening. Werner was substituted off due to breathing problems during Leipzig's Champions League defeat at Besiktas on Tuesday.

With Naby Keita still serving a suspension, Leipzig could be missing its two best players as it comes to the end of an exhausting seven games in three weeks. Cologne, meanwhile, is still looking for its first win of the season, having picked up just one point from its opening six matches.

Crisis clubs meet in northern derby: Traditional rivals Hamburg and Werder Bremen both hope to get their seasons back on track when they meet in the northern derby on Saturday evening. Hamburg has lost all of its last four games, and is still without injured forwards Filip Kostic, Nicolai Mueller and Sven Schipplock.

Bremen is second from bottom and are still searching for their first win of the season. It too is missing a key striker in Max Kruse.

Hoffenheim hunting Dortmund: Hoffenheim are hoping to keep the pressure on league leader Dortmund with a win against Freiburg on Sunday. Second-placed Hoffenheim fears it may be without key players such as Sandro Wagner, Serge Gnabry and Nadiem Amiri.

Fixtures (all times 1900 IST unless stated): Saturday: Schalke v Bayer Leverkusen (0000), Borussia Moenchengladbach v Hanover 96, Eintracht Frankfurt v VfB Stuttgart, Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund, VfL Wolfsburg v Mainz, Hamburg v Werder Bremen (2200)

Sunday: Freiburg v Hoffenheim (1700), Hertha Berlin v Bayern Munich, Cologne v RB Leipzig (2130)

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