Bayern Munich are back, and this time the opponents are FSV Mainz 05, a team that is not doing so well at the moment. With a big game against Hoffenheim coming up in midweek, and an even bigger game against RB Leipzig a few days after that, Hansi Flick will probably choose to rotate a large part of his squad. The coach was tight lipped about selection in his press conference, so we’ll have to guess who’s going to play.
Niklas Süle and Javi Martinez are still injured. Kingsley Coman participated in partial team training yesterday but won’t be ready for Mainz. Lucas Hernandez has also rejoined team training, but he will not start until he is 100% fit. This means that, in the entire month of January, the only injured player who managed to return to fitness was Serge Gnabry. What a fun thought.
Given what we know, Hansi Flick might opt for a rotated lineup. That probably means putting Philippe Coutinho behind Robert Lewandowski at striker, and Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic on the wings. Thomas Müller might want to play against Mainz for a chance at beating Kevin De Bruyne’s record of assists in a single season, but he’s the most likely to be rested for a game like this.
In midfield, we may see a pivot of Joshua Kimmich and Thiago Alcantara. The Kimmich-Thiago pairing has been criticized for being a bit too soft this season, but against Mainz that shouldn’t be an issue.
In defense, Alphonso Davies will retain his starting position at left-back. Mainz is the Canadian’s favorite team to play against, and he’ll hope to add to his tally of 2 goals in 2 games on Saturday. David Alaba and Jerome Boateng will likely be the players who get the nod at center-back, but right back is an interesting topic. This would be a perfect opportunity to test out Alvaro Odriozola while giving Benjamin Pavard some rest before a tough stretch of games, but will Hansi Flick take it?
Here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up: