After putting the hurt on Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, a resurgent Bayern Munich return to the Allianz Arena to take on Hoffenheim. Given recent results and the fact that Hoffenheim are in the bottom half of the table, one might expect a win to be a formality at this point. But things aren’t as simple as they appear. Because of some key injuries, Niko Kovac might have his work cut out for him.
While Leon Goretzka and Fiete Arp continue their onerous march towards recovery, Bayern Munich have added two new names to the injury roster — David Alaba and Lucas Hernandez. Hernandez has been sidelined due to pain in his right knee (the same knee that was operated on last season). Alaba has a badly bruised rib from being goomba-stomped by Serge Aurier in the first half of the Tottenham game. They’re both expected to miss the match at the moment — which is problematic, because it leaves Bayern with ZERO natural left-backs on the squad.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the lineup. Robert Lewandowski will surely start, and is likely to be supported by Thomas Muller at attacking midfield. Philippe Coutinho has started 4 games in a row now and has also been called up for Brazil, so this would be an appropriate time to rest him in favor of the German. On the wings, Ivan Perisic should slot in for one of Serge Gnabry or Kinglsey Coman — probably Kingsley, who has played more minutes than Gnabs as of late.
In midfield, expect to see a pivot of Corentin Tolisso and Thiago Alcantara — no Joshua Kimmich this time, he’s needed in defense. Given injuries to both Lucas and Alaba, Benjamin Pavard is the most likely candidate to play at left back, which means Kimmich must go back to the right. The only other potential left back candidate is Alphonso Davies, but it’s unlikely that he’s ready to start at against Bundesliga opposition at the moment.
The rest of the lineup basically selects itself — Niklas Süle and Jerome Boateng are the only defenders left, and they will be tasked with keeping Hoffennheim out of Manuel Neuer’s goal. Therefore, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Hoffenheim: