Guess what, everyone! International breaks are back! (Cue resounding chorus of boos.) Before we go back to watching Jogi Low torture the people of Germany, we can still enjoy a game between Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin. Wait, did I say “enjoy”? I actually meant “suffer”, because there’s never any enjoyment facing Hertha.
Hansi Flick has his work cut out for him, as he’s faced with the burden of winning the game as well as resting his international players. The good news is that he has a couple of players returning from injury — both David Alaba and Leon Goretzka are rested and available for the game. However, Kingsley Coman (muscular issues) joins Tanguy Nianzou and Leroy Sane on the injury list.
That puts the coach in a tough position, especially in the attacking department. Robert Lewandowski basically HAS to start tomorrow, and the evergreen Thomas Muller will play behind him. Muller is one of the few starters on the team without any international commitments, so Hansi will need him to leave everything on the pitch tomorrow to eke out a win. He’s so crucial to the system, that it’s hard to imagine a lineup without him.
Flick on Müller: "I would really like him to have a coaching career and I would like him to have at least three players of his kind in the squad (laughs). He's very important on and off the pitch. He's relaxed and always focused on the pitch"— Quintuple Winners (@iMiaSanMia) October 3, 2020
Let’s not get carried away, though. Hertha Berlin are never easy opponents for Bayern — a draw against them on the first matchday of last season is what began Niko Kovac’s descent into madness. So who’s gonna play on the wings? Well, I’ll be ambitious and say Jamal Musiala will get his first start in Bayern red, alongside Serge Gnabry on the other flank. We know how much Flick HATES having to put Muller on the wing, so maybe this could be a chance for the youngster to show what he’s got outside of a cameo.
In midfield, expect Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka to start. Flick mentioned that he’s actually scared of benching Kimmich, so he might keep starting him until the guy is physically unable to avoid being benched. Flick’s a smart man, he’s not gonna take chances with monster like Josh.
Finally, the defense. Given that Alaba has international games coming up, Flick may want to keep him on the sidelines and start a back four consisting of Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Niklas Sule, and Benjamin Pavard. The alternative would be to put Lucas at left back and move Phonzie up to the winger spot, benching Musiala. In fact, that’s a more likely possibility than Musiala actually starting, but we really want to see some youngsters get game time at this stage.
Chris Richards is another candidate for right-back — the young American has drawn praise in training, and he had a good cameo against Borussia Dortmund in the Supercup. He wasn’t with the reserve team when they played Dynamo Dresden on Friday, which means that he will be with the seniors like Musiala. We really want to see him start, but it may take some time for him to be ready. Defensive players take more time to mature than attackers, after all.
So, with all that out of the way, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up tomorrow:
A little bit about Hertha, from Samrin
When you look at Hertha’s line-up, you will see familiar names — they have become a respectable opponent over the years; you will see Jhon Cordoba, who completed a move to Hertha from Koln. You will see Dodi Lukebakio too. Now, we all know Cordoba and Lukebakio because they annoy us and score against us. Hertha is quite decent across the pitch as they demonstrated against Bremen, winning 1-4; keep an eye out for Mattheus Cunha up front as well who can be dangerous. They are easy on the eye and, on their day, can be as good as Hoffenheim was in the last match. They play expansive football but leave enough holes open for the opposition to take advantage of. Bremen had a few looks at goal that day that they didn’t exploit but Frankfurt did last week.
However, against Frankfurt last week, (Eintracht is no pushover — we know that as does Hoffenheim as of today), they played eye-catching football in the second half and deserved the consolation goal. They will be missing Arne Maier unfortunately, a talented defender from their academy who got injured in that match.
They are coached by Bruno Labbadia, who has been all around the Bundesliga, previously having coached Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg and Hamburg. His team, much like him, is filled with players from all around the Bundesliga. Does Hansi have a plan for Labbadia’s men? We’ll have to wait and find out.