The international break is finally over, and Bayern Munich can finally return to action in the Bundesliga. Following his rambunctious win over Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena, interim coach Hansi Flick is presented with the opposite challenge — going away to Fortuna Düsseldorf and getting all three points.
This is a fixture that caused Niko Kovac some headaches back in autumn of last year, so Flick will need to be careful to ensure his strong start isn’t cut short. With that in mind, let’s see how Bayern might line up.
According to the coach, all of Bayern’s international stars returned to Munich in one piece. That means that aside from Lucas Hernandez (ankle), Niklas Süle (knee), and Fiete Arp (hand), Flick will have a full roster for the game. Jerome Boateng is serving a suspension for the red card he received against Eintracht Frankfurt, so he’ll also have to sit this one out. That may put some pressure on Bayern’s defensive depth, but the Bavarians should be able to cope.
Now then, the lineup: in attack, expect the familiar duo of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller. Lewandowski is basically undroppable at the moment — even Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi have nothing on him. Müller meanwhile finds himself in a position where he’s valued by the coach, which must be a breath of fresh air given how Kovac used to treat him.
They should expect to be flanked by Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry. Gnabry himself is in a rich vein of form, coming off a hat-trick scored against Northern Ireland. Flick mentioned Fortuna’s defensive prowess in his press conference, so it’s likely that the coach will be counting on Gnabry to provide that extra spark in the team’s offense.
In midfield, expect a pairing of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka. Why? Well, Flick mentioned that he has altered Bayern’s style of play to be more dominant off the ball, which is why players like Thiago Alcantara and Philippe Coutinho aren’t getting a chance at the moment. This was in full view during Bayern’s victory in der Klassiker, where clever pressing and off-the-ball movement won the day. Could this signal an extended spell on the bench for the Spanish-speaking duo? If Flick continues to value defensive solidity, that may be the case.
Finally, in defense, we can expect an unchanged lineup from the Klassiker. Alphonso Davies, recipient of much praise in recent weeks for his performance against Dortmund, will line up at left-back, with David Alaba and Javi Martinez at center-back, and Benjamin Pavard at right back. Manuel Neuer will, of course, be in goal.
Without further ado, here’s how we think Bayern will line up:
If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. Am I right?