It’s funny how the DFB Pokal can just sneak up on a team, isn’t it? While Bayern Munich should be focused completely on the game against Borussia Dortmund next weekend, Wednesday’s game against Heidenheim is arguably just as important. Heidenheim is 6th place in the 2.Bundesliga, making them harder opponents than Paderborn were last year.
How will Niko Kovac and the team approach the match?
Let’s get the injuries out of the way first. Arjen Robben is still out; we don’t know why. Manuel Neuer has a calf injury; he will be rested for the game. David Alaba only just returned to team training, so it’s a bit too early for him to feature (especially with Der Klassiker looming so close). Alphonso Davies is STILL out with a (supposedly minor) knee injury, which is a shame because a game against 2.Bundesliga opposition would have been a opportunity for him. Corentin Tolisso still isn’t considered fit enough to play.
Now, the lineup. We don’t expect much (if any) rotation for this one, even with BVB on the horizon. Robert Lewandowski will start up top, hopefully with Thomas Muller behind him. Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry will likely be the two wingers on the flanks, but there’s a decent chance that Frank Ribery could start too.
Guessing the midfield is a bit tricky. Thiago Alcantara will most likely start, given how he holds the team together like glue. Leon Goretzka is probably the favorite to start next to him, but Javi Martinez could also be an option if Kovac is afraid of counterattacks (and wants Javi’s threat on set pieces).
In defense, Rafinha will have to play at left-back, because Alaba is injured. Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle will likely be the go-to central defensive pairing, with Joshua Kimmich at right-back. Sven Ulreich will start in goal, given that Neuer is injured and Früchtl is still too young.
With all that out of the way, here’s how we think Bayern will line up against Heidenheim: