PREVIEW-Soccer-Bayern in turmoil as improving Hoffenheim await

April 13, 2023 10:55 AM BST | By Reuters
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BERLIN, April 13 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich are facing a crisis heading into Saturday's Bundesliga game against in-form Hoffenheim, with their Champions League loss to Manchester City and media reports of a row among players casting a shadow on their 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 quarter-final first-leg loss at City that came a week after their 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 are out of the German Cup, on the brink of elimination in Europe and the Bundesliga title has become an absolute necessity if they are to rescue anything from their campaign.

Reports from Bild and Sky Sports Germany of a changing room row between Sadio Mane and Leroy Sane following their 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 their support on Upamecano's social media but have not commented on the widespread reports of the row as they look to prepare for Saturday's game with Hoffenheim, who are on a three-game winning run that has pulled them 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, who host City in the return leg on Wednesday, have a superb record against Hoffenheim, having lost just once at home to them.

While their Cup competitions have been disappointing they remain on track for a record-extending 11th consecutive league crown, having won five of their last six league matches.

Dortmund, hoping to pick up where they left off with their win over third-placed Union Berlin last week, travel to VfB Stuttgart, who are in the relegation playoff spot in 16th.

Union, five points further adrift on 51, host VfL Bochum, another club fighting to avoid the drop while fourth-placed RB Leipzig, on 48, entertain Augsburg. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Toby Davis)


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