Eintracht Frankfurt can consider themselves lucky: they are sitting in seventh place in the Bundesliga table, just one spot out of a Europa League berth. And they are playing Bayern Munich on the weekend between the all-important Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid. Bayern have lost several players to injury and can afford to lose no more.
Jupp Heynckes has called up no fewer than three youth players, and all of them may start: attacking midfielder Meritan Shabani, defensive midfielder Niklas Dorsch, and center-back Lars Lukas Mai, who made his Bundesliga debut against Hannover 96 last weekend.
Die Nachwuchsspieler Lukas Mai, Meritan Shabani & Niklas Dorsch stehen morgen im Profikader für das Bundesliga-Heimspiel gegen Eintracht Frankfurt. #FCBSGE #FCBayernCampus #FCBU19 #FCBAmateure #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/FAmPAJAWID— FC Bayern Campus (@FCBjuniorteam) April 27, 2018
The game will be far less useful to Eintracht coach Niko Kovac as a test run for the DFB-Pokal final, since he will see virtually two different Bayerns, but any points that can improve Eintracht’s chances of playing in Europe next year will redeem him in the eyes of Frankfurt and also help allay doubts about his readiness to coach Bayern.
How Bayern Munich might line up
We asked three of our writers to predict how Jupp Heynckes may lineup Bayern for this interim match:
Val opts for a 4-3-3 with a midfield anchored by Dorsch and Shabani on the left wing.
Cole puts Shabani in the midfield and spares all of Bayern's last two standing regular center-backs.
Chuck puts Shabani in his usual position behind the striker, with Corentin Tolisso manning the right wing. Dorsch and Sebastian Rudy fill out the double pivot, while Mai relieves Mats Hummels on the back line.
Spare everyone! I really, really do not want to start Kimmich or even Rafinha, but there just are not enough alternatives. Kimmich seems to have inherited Philipp Lahm's horse lungs, so I will hope and pray he can cruise through the match without wearing himself out. Full disclosure: Chuck and I happened to pick the same players, but I was lazy and forgot to switch the system after entering in Val and Cole's lineups. Serves me right.