While the rest of Europe was busy with miscellaneous midweek fixtures, us poor Bayern Munich fans had to wait a full week to see our club play again. The game against Paderborn comes at a crucial moment — just days before we face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League — so this will be an important practice game for that one.
So how will Niko Kovac tackle SC Paderborn? Well, let’s take a look.
First, injuries. Leon Goretzka (thigh) and Jann-Fiete Arp (wrist) were both ruled out by Kovac before the game, and Bayern recently announced that Ivan Perisic will sit out the game due to illness. David Alaba, meanwhile, has returned to team training, but it’s possible that he won’t be ready to start a game just yet.
With that out of the way, let’s start with the lineup. Robert Lewandowski will start up top, with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman almost certain to take their place on Bayern’s flanks. A game against Paderborn would be an amazing opportunity to give Alphonso Davies his first ever Bundesliga start — but it feels like Kovac doesn’t see Davies’ development as a priority at the moment. It’s a huge shame, considering how well he performed against Leipzig — if Davies ends up with zero minutes played over a three-match period consisting of Red Star, Koln, and Paderborn, Brazzo may want to have a word with the coach re: team selection.
As for midfield, given that the name of the game is to get Philippe Coutinho integrated, Thomas Muller will probably have to sit on the bench for the third game in a row. With the Brazilian at attacking midfield, Kovac needs to figure out who will support him. Thiago Alcantara is an obvious choice — but between Corentin Tolisso and Joshua Kimmich, there’s no clear answer.
Whoever it is, the midfield composition will affect the defense. Lucas Hernandez will likely start at left back, and be subbed out at some point in the second half to allow David Alaba some game time. If Kimmich plays at right back, the center back pairing will be Niklas Sule and Benjamin Pavard — if not, then Jerome Boateng will slot in and Pavard will move to right back.
Given everything we know, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Paderborn: