Well, here it is, folks. When the Champions League draw was first announced, everyone knew that Bayern Munich vs Tottenham Hotspur would a game to watch. Bayern have a great record against North London clubs, but facing Spurs will be a whole different ball game to facing the Arsenal of yesterday.
Both teams come into the game in patchy runs of form. While Bayern have started the season well, the players have been critical of the team’s overall performances, Joshua Kimmich in particular criticizing the Bavarians’ inability to dominate games. Spurs, meanwhile, have had a litany of problems all season long — the reasons for which are hard to list. It’s safe to say that they’re not the quite the same team that made it to the UCL final last year.
Niko Kovac will be expected to win this game, and he has all the tools he needs to make it happen. Let’s take a look at the team.
Leon Goretzka and Fiete Arp will miss the game due to injury, but Ivan Perisic has been cleared to play by the club. Lucas Hernandez, however, is still not training with the team following an injury scare against Paderborn on Saturday — it is worried that he may miss the game altogether.
Well, given what we know, how will Bayern Munich line up? Robert Lewandowski will surely play up top, supported by a winger duo of Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman. According to folks over at Cartilage Free Captain, Spurs have a weakness at fullback, which Bayern’s wingers will be looking to exploit.
In attacking midfield, we’ll likely see Philippe Coutinho, with Thomas Müller relegated to the bench. This would mark the fourth consecutive game that Müller has been benched this season — signalling tough times for the Raumdeuter. Coutinho, for his part, has been in a rich vein of form. Given that his goals and assists have come against vastly inferior opposition so far, the Brazilian will be eager to showcase the true extent of his skills against the Londoners.
In midfield, we will probably see a pairing of Joshua Kimmich and Thiago Alcantara. If you groaned while reading that, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Corentin Tolisso has struggled to regain form this season following his ACL injury, but he still offers more control and physicality in the middle of the pitch that Kimmich — something important for a defensive midfielder. Who knows? Perhaps Kovac will decide to try something else.
In defense, there’s a big question mark over who will play at left back for Bayern. Lucas Hernandez seems to be experiencing some discomfort in his right knee — the same knee that was operated on last season. Normally, it would be foolhardy to let him play, but Niko Kovac lacks options given that David Alaba has only just recovered from a thigh injury, ad may not be fit to play yet. He wasn’t even tested against Paderborn.
Could that mean — Alphonso Davies starts? Davies did play at fullback against Tottenham during the Audi Cup, and even scored a great goal. He still lacks experience, but it could be a huge opportunity for the youngster to showcase his skills. He would be joined by Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Sule, and Jerome Boateng in defense.
Assuming that Lucas gets fit in time, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Tottenham: