The Bundesliga dropped the hammer on Rafinha Monday, dishing out a three-match ban to the fullback following his red card against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Rafinha grabbed the face of midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan late in Bayern Munich's 0-3 defeat to Dortmund after both were challenging for the ball on the right sideline. Felix Zwayer reached for his back pocket moments later, sending off the Brazilian in the 90th minute. The red card capped what was a nightmarish day in Allianz Arena.
With Bayern's next three opponents in the bottom half of the table – Eintracht Braunschweig, Werder Bremen, Hamburger SV – Pep Guardiola may turn to 19-year-old Mitchell Weiser, although Philipp Lahm could also plausibly see time at his old position. Weiser played in Bayerns 0-1 defeat in Augsburg, fulfilling his first 90 minute shift in the Bundesliga.
The greater implication of the suspension could spill over in other competitions. Guardiola has a potent Real Madrid attack on his hands, and no one knows what his defensive plans were after interchanging Lahm's positioning all season. Whatever plans they were will indubitably have to change if the Bayern manager will want Rafinha part of his plans.
The probability of Rafinha's name being in the starting XI for the DFB Pokal semifinal just increase drastically, for it will be one of four (possibly six) matches the 28-year-old can play the rest of the season.