It’s the final game of the Hinrunde, and Bayern Munich are running on fumes. Reduced to just 11 outfield players, the Bavarians face a stern test in the form of VfL Wolfsburg, who’ve been having a very decent season thus far.
The injury list is sobering. Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso both miss out due to muscular problems, while Niklas Sule, Kingsley Coman, and Lucas Hernandez remain sidelined due to longer-term injuries. Fiete Arp and Michael Cuisance are also out, but they were unlikely to start anyway. The biggest blow will be the absence of Thiago, who is suspended due to the accumulation of 5 yellow cards.
Given the circumstances, Hansi Flick doesn’t have much choice in terms of lineups. Robert Lewandowski will lead the attack, supported from left to right by Ivan Perisic, Philippe Coutinho, Thomas Muller, and Serge Gnabry. Joshua Kimmich will slot in as the lone pivot, forming a very fragile 4-1-4-1 formation.
In defense, Alphonso Davies will reprise his role at left back, while David Alaba will start at center back. The Austrian will be key to the entire setup — with Thiago out, his distribution from the back and the ability to close down runners will be vital to preventing defensive errors. One of either Jerome Boateng or Javi Martinez will slot in at the other CB position, most likely Martinez given what happened in Boateng’s previous outing. Benjamin Pavard rounds things out at the back, playing at right back.
Let’s hope Manuel Neuer is on top form, because that’s a setup guaranteed to concede goals.