The 5-0 drubbing Bayern Munich gave Freiburg this past weekend was the perfect start to Jupp Heynckes’s new tenure at the club. Now Bayern must carry that newfound momentum into their next match at the Allianz Arena, when they host Scottish champions Celtic FC from faraway Glasgow.
To every midfield, turn, turn, turn
Heynckes’s debut performance answered several of the questions surrounding his lineup choices: despite stating that he favored a 4-3-3, it was the familiar 4-2-3-1 that he deployed against Freiburg. As advertised, Javi Martinez played as defensive midfielder to “stabilize the defense.” Alongside him, it was Thiago that Heynckes chose to orchestrate Bayern’s offense.
Now Heynckes must choose anew: Javi suffered a minor shoulder injury that will sideline him for the next two games. Sometimes, however, such problems have a way of solving themselves. Arturo Vidal, who was unavailable this past weekend on account of a minor case of muscle hardening, is ready to play. He could perhaps be persuaded to play relatively defensively with Thiago.
That may not be safe enough for Heynckes. Alternatively, Heynckes could pair Thiago or Vidal with a different defensive midfielder such as Sebastian Rudy, who indeed replaced Javi on Saturday after his injury. That option seems more likely, also for reasons of rotation.
On offense, the key thing to watch is whether Heynckes gives James Rodriguez a chance. If so, he would most probably replace Arjen Robben on Bayern’s right flank, allowing the Dutch winger added time to recuperate from Saturday’s match. Speaking at the press conference, Jerome Boateng anticipated only a small degree of rotation, since Bayern is still searching for its best starting lineup.
Celtic Bhoys with everything to prove
Celtic have been unbeaten in league play for the last 50 plus league matches, but dominating the Scottish premiership is nothing new for the Bhoys. Under previous manager Ronny Deila, they also dominated the league yet struggled to qualify for Champions League play. That changed under new coach Brendan Rodgers. Celtic have now qualified for the past two years. Although last year they crashed and burned out of the group stage, this year they are fresh off of a massive 3-0 drubbing of Anderlecht away.
Gordon; Tierney, Boyata, Bitton, Lustig; Ntcham, Brown; Sinclair, Roberts, Forrest; Dembélé
Moussa Dembélé, Celtic's 21-year-old star French striker who has missed the entire Champions League thus far with a hamstring injury, could be looking for a big unveiling this week. He played only 15' against Dundee in what could be a warm-up for a big start at the Allianz. Also returning for Celtic is long time captain Scott Brown, who is closing in on 300 appearances for the Hoops. While he is no guarantee to get the start over a player like Callum McGregor, this team just plays better with the 32-year-old Scotsman in the lineup.