DFB Pokal First Round: Monday Preview: Bayern Munich Face Eintracht Braunschweig

Monday concludes the first round of the 2011-2012 DFB Pokal with Bayern Munich traveling to Eintracht Braunschweig. After seeing Wolfsburg, Freiburg, Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen get eliminated by lower division opponents, Bayern will be looking to avoid the same embarrassment.

Bayern will be taking all 19 fit first team players with them to Braunschweig. The three not making the trip are Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Breno. Robben is still recovering from an ankle sprain, but he will likely feature this weekend against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the first match of the new league season. Breno is back running after injuring his knee and will continue to rehab for another week. Ribery is expected to be out for at least another week after spraining his ankle and damaging some ligaments. He is expected to begin running next week.

With both Ribery and Robben out, manager Jupp Heynckes is expected to bring in David Alaba and Toni Kroos to replace them. Heynckes will continue to the 4-2-3-1 formation that Bayern has been using for the last few season. Alaba will move to the left in place of Ribery, Kroos will slide into the middle and Thomas Müller will move out wide right in place of Robben. Behind those three will sit Bastian Schweinsteiger and either Anatoliy Tymoshchuk or Luiz Gustavo.

After his spectacular campaign last season, Mario Gomez is a lock-starter barring injury at the lone forward position. Bayern finally have depth again at this position this season with the return of Ivica Olić from injury and the summer signing of Nils Petersen. 

In defense Heynckes is likely to go with Philipp Lahm at left back, Rafinha at right back and Jérôme Boateng and Holger Badstuber as the two centerbacks. The other alternative at centerback is the big Belgian Daniel Van Buyten.

Manuel Neuer will be the starting goalkeeper for Bayern. The expectations on Neuer are huge as a few of the club's "ultra groups" have come out vehemently against Neuer. He will need to come up big for the club this season.

Eintracht Braunschweig won promotion at the end of last season to the 2.Bundesliga. After two rounds this season they are on top of the table. They've sold all 24,000 seats in the Eintracht-Stadion and the atmosphere is expected to be electric. Braunschweig will be counting on forwards Dominick Kumbela and Dennis Kruppke to continually challenge the Bayern backline and capitalize on any scoring chances they do have.

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