Bayern Munich return to action this Saturday against 1. FC Nurnberg, making this the second game of the season against a Bavarian rival. Since the game against Augsburg ended in a humiliating 1-1 draw, coach Niko Kovac will be desperate to avoid a repeat of that result. Already 9 points adrift of league leaders Borussia Dortmund, Bayern simply cannot afford another botched result.
Bayern Munich always have injuries, but the situation isn’t as dire as it was a few weeks ago. James Rodriguez and Corentin Tolisso remain sidelined as they continue to work on their respective knee injuries. Arjen Robben is a doubt for the game, due to lingering thigh problems from the week before. That being said, this will be the healthiest squad Niko Kovac will have had in some time.
The coach confirmed that Mats Hummels would start the game on the bench. The German defender had been sidelined by an upset stomach these past few games, and it seems like he’ll need to wait a little longer before he can return to the field. Indeed, Niko Kovac seems to be making it easy for us this week. In his pregame press conference, he admitted that he wasn’t going to make any changes to the lineup that beat Werder Bremen.
That means that we should expect to see Franck Ribery and Serge Gnabry flank an attacking duo of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, and supported by a midfield comprised of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich. Kingsley Coman should be an option to play instead of Ribery, but it’s possible that Kovac doesn’t want him to start a game so soon after his return. The coach confirmed that Coman wasn’t supposed to play more than 45 minutes versus Werder, and the substitution was necessitated by Ribery’s injury.
In Kimmich’s absence, Rafinha will play at right back while David Alaba will play at left back. With Mats Hummels already ruled out, the center backs and goalkeeper are sure to remain unchanged.
With that out of the way, here’s how we think that formation might look:
The lack of rotation tells us that Kovac is prioritizing the Bundesliga for now. With Champions League progression already secured, expect a lot more rotation against Ajax in midweek. However, the way Kovac spoke in the presser makes it seem like he’s going to dial back rotation entirely, only resting players that are tired. Let’s hope that he doesn’t go full-Ancelotti on us, otherwise Bayern might end up with a whole new set of problems.