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Midweek Warm-up: it is Leon Goretzka’s time to shine for Bayern Munich; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles remembered; a Champions League prediction; and MORE!

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Here we go! Bayern Munich vs. RB Salzburg are set to get it on! Or at least play a game!

FC Bayern Muenchen - Press Conference And Training Session Photo by Handout/FC Bayern via Getty Images

There are not many positives to injuries. If you are the optimistic type, though, you might try to find the silver lining in a situation where Joshua Kimmich and Corentin Tolisso are both missing from Bayern Munich’s midfield.

What could possibly be good about missing that much talent? Well, maybe this will give Leon Goretzka an opportunity to become the main man in the Bavarian central midfield for once and let the 25-year-old assume a greater leadership role, given the void left by Kimmich’s absence.

Spain v Germany -UEFA Nations league
For once, Leon Goretzka can fill a leading role from his position in the midfield.
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

By now, if you aren’t aware of Goretzka’s talent and impact, it’s simply the case that you must not want to see it. Despite his storied youth career and subsequent breakout at the 2017 Confederations Cup, Goretzka has never really had to lead a midfield. At Schalke 04, he was surrounded by veterans and even with Germany’s national team, he has always been in the background behind players like Toni Kroos and Kimmich among others.

Now, however, we get to see if Goretzka can aptly fill the role of being the squad’s most important midfielder. Can Goretzka be the well-rounded, vocal boss that can dictate the defensive positioning, while also finding ways to initiate the offense?

We already know he had displayed ample leadership qualities among his teammates and with social causes, but we have not really had the opportunity to watch him boss a midfield with Bayern Munich. We got a bit of a glimpse last weekend in his standout substitute performance against Werder Bremen, but now Goretzka should have a full game to make his impression.

And I’m confident he’ll take the role and run with it.

The “hype train” on Goretzka started long before he eventually signed with the Bavarians and it grew (both literally and figuratively) last season as he used the quarantine to add some bulk to his already athletic frame.

Regardless, Goretzka has earned his billing as one of the squad’s stars and now will get an opportunity to be the team’s engine against RB Salzburg. Will he make the most of it? If he approaches it like he has done everything else in his career, we can expect big things from Goretzka today.


A classic remembered: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

A seminal 80s buddy-flick, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is simply the best Thanksgiving-based movie ever made. Featuring Steve Martin and John Candy at their respective comedic peaks, this John Hughes movie is rip-roaringly hilarious from start-to-finish.

As Wikipedia summarized, the premise of the movie is as follows:

Neal Page is a marketing account executive on a business trip in New York City, eager to return to his family in Chicago for Thanksgiving, which is in two days’ time. After attending a tedious meeting that ends without a decision, Neal unsuccessfully attempts to hail a cab during rush hour. He is further delayed after paying a greedy attorney for a cab that is inadvertently stolen by Del Griffith, a loquacious traveling salesman who sells shower curtain rings. Neal and Del cross paths again at LaGuardia Airport, where they board a plane to O’Hare. Their plane is diverted to Wichita due to a blizzard in Chicago.

As they say...from there, hilarity ensues. The chemistry between Candy and Martin is what shines through in just about every scene. With so many classic moments, it is tough to pick the best one.

Was it Edie McClurg’s fantastic cameo? Was it the infamous “Where’s your hand?” scene? Or maybe just the sight of Martin and Candy riding down the freeway in a car that is burnt to a crisp?

It doesn’t matter, it’s utterly fantastic. And sure, in many ways it reeks of the 80s — but in a great way. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you do at some point in the next couple of days. You won’t be disappointed.

For those of you who have already seen it...check this out:


A train story

Reminiscing about Planes, Trains, and Automobiles reminded me of my own train story. Back in the early aughts I was working for a company that suffered through a major corporate restructuring and cut roughly half of its office staff (joy!). Just a week after I got married, I was lucky enough to be laid off.

In my search for a new gig, I ended up taking a job in a terrible department at a prominent company in Center City Philadelphia, which meant I was going to live the train life for my daily commute.

Now, I like to have control over my ability to come and go as I please, so being confined to a train schedule was not quite the easiest transition for me. During the winter months it was especially tough in dealing with the delays and also being crammed into seats with random people. I basically hated that period of my work life...but it did give me this gem.

I had gotten into a nice routine of being able to nap-it-out daily on my train rides homes. Every day, my internal alarm clock would give me a three-to-four minute heads up before my reaching my stop — the last station in Pennsylvania.

For weeks, I was an ace. Nap-it-out, wake-up, boom...never an issue. Until one fateful and freezing day occurred when that nap hit just right. I was in a deep sleep and my internal alarm clock failed me...but not completely. I had woken up right as the last folks at my stop were letting out!

In my haste, I tried to gather myself, grab my bag, and get out the door. Upon trying to stand up, however, a hard reality struck: My leg was completely “asleep” and as soon as I stood up, I immediately was snipered and went down in a heap.

It was a calamitous fall and there was no bracing myself due to my hands being occupied carrying my bags.

Being Philly, no one exactly was willing or eager to ask me if I was okay. I couldn’t move...like at all. So, as the doors closed and the train started to roll on down the tracks, I just laid on the disgusting floor until I regained feeling in my legs.

I got out at the next stop — Hello Delaware! — and had to wait until the next train heading north came by.

The job sucked, the train life just wasn’t for me, and needless to say, I only lasted a few more weeks at the job before moving to another company where I spent the next decade or so.


“Can I speak to the (site) manager?” — you

I want to try a new feature for the warm-ups and would love your help. Do you have questions about Bayern Munich, footy in general, or any other aspect of life?

I can be your guy.

Do you want to know what Tom Adams eats for breakfast? Do you want to know who I would target in the summer if I was in the Bayern Munich front office? Do you need relationship help? Do you just need an opinion on anything from me — or another BFW staffer?

We can help (or at least provide an entertaining response)!

Here are a couple examples of what this might look like:

“Hi, not a fan of yours at all you hack, but why do you ALWAYS leave the toilet seat up despite over 17 years of me telling you not to do that?”

— Julie, outside of Philadelphia

Response: You chose to marry a caveman and now you must reap what you have sewn!

“Hey, also not a fan...how you feelin’ about #TimoTime now tough guy?”

— Ineednoname, parts unknown

Response: Thanks for asking! I am still a fan and part of me still wishes that Hansi Flick would have been granted his wish to bring Timo Werner to Munich. While there is no doubting the talent of Leroy Sane, I think Bayern probably should have given Flick at least one of the players he wanted. Stashing Tiago Dantas as a project-type player on Bayern Munich II was really the only Flick-target that the Bavarians brought in.

I know many were concerned about how Werner would have fit, but I trust Flick to give each player a role where he can thrive. For the most part, it’s hard to argue that Flick has not managed to do just that...with everyone on the roster.

As for Werner, I think he’s acclimated himself quite nicely in the “big boy” league over there in England and I’d expect he continues to make developments within his own game that will allow him to flash his talent and gain even more fans.

So, there you have it. Send your questions to barrelsportsblog@gmail.com and we’ll help you...help yourself. Just don’t do anything like this:


Predictions

The last match between Bayern Munich and RB Salzburg was a fun and rollicking affair. If nothing else, RB Salzburg develops talent and plays fearlessly. While that makes for entertaining football, the Salzburg bunch is running directly into a big red juggernaut in Munich that might be a little miffed following its 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen.

With so many key players missing, however, does Bayern Munich still have enough to ward off a young, hungry, and persistent foe?

Yes...why, yes it does.

The Bavarians might be missing Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Alphonso DaviesCorentin Tolisso, Bouna Sarr, and potentially Lucas Hernandez, but they still have Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, Leon Goretzka, Manuel Neuer, and much more. The Werder Bremen draw was likely one in a series of wake-up calls that will happen at different points this season and unfortunately for RB Salzburg, Bayern Munich’s short memory of that failure is still fresh.

I’d expect the Bavarians to come out pressing hard and with a lot of energy as they look to force RB Salzburg into making mistakes early. Sure, the young and pesky Austrian side has the ability to quickly counter if the Bayern Munich back-line drifts too high, but this seems like a game where Hansi Flick gets to show one of the great traits that he has instilled in this squad over the past year: resiliency.

Bayern Munich will bounce back and even though it won’t be easy, this feels and looks like a game where the Bavarians take care of business quite handily.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 5-1 RB Salzburg

And now on to our fearless guest prognosticators:

Schnitzel01: Salzburg are a VERY good side, and they showed just how dangerous they can be in the reverse fixture, when they played really well and managed to beat our defense on multiple occasions. Some Manuel Neuer heroics prevented the score line from being closer, and without Joshua Kimmich and possibly Lucas Hernandez this time, Bayern will have their work cut out. That being said, Bayern’s attack always turns up in the UCL, so I expect both sides to score, but I will back Bayern to beat any team in Europe any day of the week. I’m thinking 4-2 to Bayern.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-2 RB Salzburg

JTobolt: Bayern will give up an early goal, as they still struggle defensively. Not having Niklas Süle could hurt (given recent questions over his fitness) and Salzburg will be able to exploit that. Look for Bayern’s offense to start slow but come alive by the second half.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 RB Salzburg


Prediction Records

Not...a...good...week.

Last Bundesliga match day record: 4-5

Overall record: 40-35*

Guest predictors of Bayern Munich games: 12-0 (?!)*

(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)