After last week’s debacle against Nürnberg, Bayern Munich are once again faced with an opportunity to trip up, this time courtesy of the one team that happens to be worse — Hannover 96. Niko Kovac will want to give Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery some minutes, given that it’s their final season, but with the title race as tight as it is, can he afford it?
Some (relatively) good news for once — aside from James Rodrigurez and Manuel Neuer (both calf injuries), Bayern Munich have everyone available for the game. However, that doesn’t mean we expect Kovac to change the lineup too much.
Serge Gnabry didn’t start last week because of some muscular problems, but he should be in the starting lineup this time. Expect Kovac to go with his preferred front four of Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Serge Gnabry once again. We could potentially see Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery make an appearance, but probably not in the starting lineup.
In midfield, Javi Martinez might finally be rested. His attributes as a defensive midfielder are total overkill against a team like Hannover, so expect Leon Goretzka and Thiago Alcantara to be the starting midfield pairing on Saturday. There’s a chance we could see Corentin Tolisso make an appearance off the bench.
In defense, we will see no changes whatsoever — David Alaba will play at left back, Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle will be the central defenders, and Joshua Kimmich will take his place at right back. With Manuel Neuer absent, Sven Ulreich is going to be the man in goal. Sven hasn’t looked too great between the sticks this season, but it’s not as if the coach has a choice. Bayern youth keeper Christian Fruchtl is still out with an elbow injury.
All that being said, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up: