In the space of just 4 days, Bayern Munich has suffered long term injuries to both Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez and now face a defensive crisis. While Javi Martinez can also play as a center-back, Niko Kovac’s only available natural center-backs are Jerome Boateng and Benjamin Pavard. Perhaps it’s now time for Kovac to give Lars Lukas Mai a chance, since he really doesn’t have many other options.
Kovac won’t have to look far for plaudits in favor of Mai either. Manuel Baum, who is the current manager of the German U20 team, argued that Bayern should give Mai a chance now that they have such an injury problem in defense. Speaking on Sky90 (via AZ), Baum said that Mai could be a solution for Bayern:
FC Bayern Munich should now look to their youth... [Mai] is a really, really good one. With him they can now just be brave and push their own players. Why shouldn’t that be a solution?
Former Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes also reflected on how the young defender impressed him under his own management:
I was impressed in training and in friendly games that he is unfazed, that he plays matter-of-factly, is strong in the air, and relatively good at opening up play.
Mai made his two Bundesliga starts at the end of the 2017/2018 campaign, in a 3-0 win over Hannover 96 and a 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Kovac may or may not have seen or heard the advice from both Baum and Heynckes, but Mai is already training with the first team, per Manuel Bonke of TZ:
Nach dem doppelten Abwehr-Schock für den #FCBayern (#Süle & #Hernandez)!trainiert heute immerhin Lukas #Mai wieder mit den Profis. Der Youngster arbeitete die vergangenen Tage nur individuell, weil er sich beim U20-Länderspiel Blessuren zuzog. Morgen hat das Team trainingsfrei.— Manuel Bonke (@mano_bonke) October 23, 2019
Mai has made a total of eleven appearances this season for Bayern’s U23’s in the 3.Liga and he was on the bench for Bayern’s Bundesliga matches earlier this season against Hertha Berlin (2-2 draw), FC Köln (4-0 win), and TSG Hoffenheim (2-1 loss). With a packed fixtures list ahead for Bayern, Kovac might have to give some of his other defenders a rest and give Mai some minutes, whether starting or off the bench. Bayern’s second-round DFB-Pokal clash against VfL Bochum could prove to be the most feasible occasion for Kovac to give Mai a start.