Well, the Bundesliga is back, and it’s up to Bayern Munich to begin the unenviable task of making up a seven point deficit on the league leaders. Last year, the Bavarians managed to win the league despite being nine points behind, but that was precipitated by one of the best second half performances ever. Since then, the Bundesliga has only gotten stronger, with many more quality teams vying for the top spots.
Werder Bremen, luckily enough, are not one of these teams. They currently sit at 14th place with 14 points after 14 matchdays (what a coincidence). Florian Kohfeldt’s team however have the tools to hurt Bayern on the counter, and a plethora of injuries on the Bavarian side of things doesn’t help matters. With that said, how will Hansi Flick tackle the situation? Let’s take a look.
Injuries just keep piling up. Kingsley Coman is the latest casualty on the roster, joining Corentin Tolisso, Niklas Süle, Lucas Hernandez, and Fiete Arp on injury list. We have no clue what’s happened to Michael Cuisance — after suffering an apparent foot injury on Sunday, he hasn’t been mentioned by the club or Flick in press conferences. How can a player just drop off the face of the earth like that? In addition, Javi Martinez is suspended following his red card against Gladbach last Saturday — as if it couldn’t get any worse.
To alleviate the situation, Hansi Flick has called up four players from the youth team — Joshua Zirkzee, Oliver Batista Meier, Sarpreet Singh, and Lars Lukas Mai should all be on the bench tomorrow. However, they’re unlikely to make it into the starting lineup.
Someone who is guaranteed to start is Robert Lewandowski. The Polish hitman was rested in midweek against Tottenham and should be itching to go against Bremen, who have conceded 29 goals in 14 games. Joining him will likely be Thomas Müller — Hansi would be ill-advised to leave him out of the XI, given that Bremen are one of his favorite opponents.
Philippe Coutinho put in a stellar performance on Wednesday and is the favorite to take over for Coman on the left wing. Serge Gnabry should join him on the opposite flank.
The midfield will depend on where Joshua Kimmich plays. If deployed as a right back, we can expect a dual pivot of Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka. If not, then the Spaniard might have to sit this one out.
In defense, Alphonso Davies is certain to reprise his role at left-back — the coach was full of praise for the youngster in his press conference. David Alaba will join him at left center-back after sitting out the midweek game. Whether Jerome Boateng or Benjamin Pavard will start at the other center-back position remains to be seen — if Pavard plays there, then Joshua Kimmich would have to drop back to RB to accommodate.
However, given that Flick has exclusively used the Frenchman as a fullback thus far, a move to center-back seems unlikely. Therefore, we should expect Boateng to make an appearance on Saturday.
So, without further ado, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Werder Bremen: