The Champions League is back! Jesse Marsch’s RB Salzburg pay Bayern Munich a visit at the Allianz Arena, determined to exact revenge for their 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Bavarians three weeks ago. Given that the game was way closer than the scoreline suggests, and Bayern have lost a number of key players to injury since then, things could go very wrong for Hansi Flick and his men tomorrow.
To be honest, the news isn’t great. Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, and Corentin Tolisso are all out of the game due to a myriad of injuries. Lucas Hernandez is doubtful for the game while Buona Sarr is definitely confirmed to be out. Finally, Niklas Sule is 100% out for tomorrow, as Flick confirmed that the defender had a “training deficit”. This basically confirms the “fat Sule” theory from yesterday, so ... yay I guess.
So what about the lineup? Salzburg are formidable opponents — just ask Liverpool — so Hansi has no choice but to go with his best players. That means starting with a front four of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman. Leroy Sane might be an option, but recent games have shown that the 24-year-old simply isn’t ready to play a full 90 — he is better off as an impact sub for Coman.
The midfield is the biggest headache for Flick right now, as Joshua Kimmich and Corentin Tolisso being injured leaves no one to take over the role of distributor. The 4-1-4-1 didn’t really work against Werder Bremen, so maybe Hansi will decide to go with a regular pivot with Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka to protect the defense from Salzburg’s sizzling attack. However, that’s only possible if Lucas is fit enough to play — otherwise Javi will be needed in defense. Could it be time for Marc Roca to start?
If both left-backs are indeed injured, David Alaba will have to move to the flank to cover. With Sule out, that leaves a few permutations for Hansi in central defense:
- Shift Benjamin Pavard to center-back to partner Jerome Boateng, and start Chris Richards at right-back.
- Start Chris Richards at center-back alongside Boateng.
- Start Javi Martinez at center-back and put Marc Roca next to Goretzka in midfield.
Either way, Bayern will have to rely on at least one inexperienced player in defense or defensive midfield tomorrow, which is a worry because this is RB Salzburg we’re talking about. Hopefully Manuel Neuer is ready for tomorrow’s game, because we might have to rely on him to keep the scoreline down.
Assuming that Lucas is fit, here’s how we think Bayern will start tomorrow:
Update: Just for the sake of being thorough, here’s what Bild thinks the lineup will be. Could Roca get a start?