After their dispiriting 2-1 loss against Hoffenheim, Niko Kovac and his Bayern Munich players will be desperate to get 3 points when they play Augsburg tomorrow. Currently third place in the Bundesliga table, the champions have every chance of rising to the top after this match day — especially so,considering that fellow title rivals RB Leipzig and Borrussia Dortmund are both below them in this year’s fascinatingly unpredictable edition of German football’s top flight.
Both Augsburg and Bayern come into this fixture in patchy form for their respective quality. On one hand, the Bavarians lost and narrowly won against Hoffenheim and Paderborn, respectively. On the other hand, Augsburg, lying fourteenth in the table, have had a horrible start to the season with heavy losses against Bayer Leverkusen and Mönchengladbach in recent weeks. Given that both teams are in need of results, this has all the hallmarks of a potentially exciting affair.
Bayern come into this tie with almost all of their regular squad since only Leon Goretzka and Fiete Arp are doubts for the game. The dynamic German centre-mid could still play a part in the fixture after recovering from an thigh injury, but this seems unlikely in light of his lack of match-practice in recent weeks. As for Arp, the youngster definitely won’t play, since he’s still recovering from an unfortunate wrist injury.
Let’s look at the potential lineup for Bayern. Robert Lewandowski is a fairly sure-fire starter at striker. The menacing Pole will likely be supported by a wing duo of Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry. However, it’s also possible that Kingsley Coman gets the nod on the wing. At the number 10 position, Thomas Müller will probably be playing. This is likely, because Phillipe Coutinho has just recently returned to Munich after playing for Brazil in Singapore. Müller also hasn’t started any of Bayern’s last 5 outings. Hence, Müller’s discontent with his current status at the club coupled with statements from chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge that Muller is still important for Bayern strongly suggest the raumdeuteur should start.
In midfield, the expected members of the pivot are Thiago and either Javi Martinez or Corentin Tolisso. A Spanish connection seems more likely because of Martinez’ disappointment about his recent playing time and Tolisso’s dubious form. At left-back, David Alaba will likely play if he’s fit to start — but that’s unlikely. Therefore, expect to see Lucas Hernandez on the left. Thankfully, it seems that Joshua Kimmich is permanently back on the right side of the defence — which is where he will play against Augsburg.
As for the heart of the defence, Niklas Sule will likely partner up with Benjamin Pavard, unless Hernandez is deployed at center-back. There’s no room for Jerome Boateng in the lineup, and he may not even be at the match anyway — the German missed a training session for “private reasons” (to visit his son in Wolfsburg) only two days ago. Finally, Manuel Neuer will captain the Bayern side from his goal-keeper position. As a result of all these factors, we at BFW reached a surprising consensus about how we think Bayern will line up against Augsburg:
Fergus, Evan Vanderpool, Gabriel and Daniel Zeisset:
All of us presume that Alaba won’t be fit enough to play, but if he is ready for action, we predict that Hernandez will slot in for Pavard, who will go down to the bench.