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How will Bayern Munich line up against Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal? (Update: Renato Sanches is out)

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Things always get tricky when the Berlin Bus is involved.

Ajax v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Group E Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

As Bayern Munich reels from a crushing loss to Bayer Leverkusen, the DFB-Pokal returns to heap more potential misery on the fanbase. Hertha Berlin are our least favorite opponents, and now the team is tasked with beating them away from home in a knockout game.

With the league being a total wash and Liverpool coming up in the Champions League, the cup looks like it might be the only trophy Niko Kovac can win in his debut year. Can he get us through to the next round?

Team News

The coach confirmed in his pregame presser that Arjen Robben would continue to sit this one out, and Manuel Neuer was still doubtful for the game. In addition, Corentin Tolisso continues to train individually as part of his recovery — he’ll be unavailable as well.

Aside from Neuer, none of the absentees should have a huge impact on how Bayern line up for the game. We will probably see a front line consisting of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman and one other player — whether this player will be James Rodriguez, Serge Gnabry, or Leon Goretzka is difficult to say at the moment.

For James at least, the chances are 50-50. He looked decent against Bayer Leverkusen, but Kovac emphasized defensive compactness in his press conference, which might hint at another game on the bench for the Colombian. Perhaps we will once again see Leon Goretzka as the #10, with a midfield of Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara behind him. In my opinion, that would be the most likely configuration.

Finally, in defense there probably won’t be any surprises. David Alaba will slot in at left back, Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule will man the central defensive positions, and Joshua Kimmich will be at right back. Kimmich in particular will be looking to improve from his last outing, where he admitted that his performance was quite poor.

So, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Hertha Berlin:

Does that seem familiar? It’s the same lineup we fielded against Hoffenheim and Stuttgart.


Update

According to Bayern, Renato Sanches joins the list of players who didn’t travel to Berlin. However, both Manuel Neuer and Thiago Alcantara will be on the squad.