There is no denying that Bayern Munich’s defense has been much maligned of late.
Hansi Flick’s high line has come under criticism as momentary lapses and a sometimes-troublesome lack of awareness have hampered the extremely talented group of defenders.
Bayern Munich has allowed 14 goals in its last 11 games across all competitions and has shown signs of being susceptible to quick counter-attacks. If not for some superb performances from Manuel Neuer, some would argue Bayern Munich could have lost at least two or three of those fixtures in that 11-game stretch.
There is a litany of reasons that the unit has struggled at times over the course of this season. Mostly, though, the group has not had much of a chance to develop much cohesion thanks to injuries and heavy rotation. Others have speculated that players like David Alaba and Jerome Boateng have been distracted at times due to their respective contract situations, which could see both players exit Bavaria after this season.
Whatever the case, Bayern Munich’s back-line will square-off against Lazio in the Champions League round of 16 and specifically will have to manage the Italian club’s high-scoring striker, Ciro Immobile.
Immobile has 11 goals and two assists in 13 games across all competitions this season, but even as potent a striker as he is, the 30-year-old acknowledged that he would rather not face Bayern Munich so early in the Champions League process. Unfortunately for Immobile and Lazio, the draw did the Italy international no favors.
However he feels, Immobile still presents a staunch challenge to the Bavarian back-line. Bayern Munich, though, is not short on defensive talent and should present Immobile with his most difficult match-up so far.
No matter who Flick uses among Niklas Süle, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, and Alphonso Davies, Immobile will face a mix of physical strength and pace that he has not often had to face — if ever.
In addition, Joshua Kimmich will be back roaming the central midfield, which should help stabilize things in front of the back-four.
Should Bayern Munich fans respect Immobile? Absolutely. Should they doubt the ability of Flick’s team to stop him? Nope.
Sure, there is plenty of time between now and kickoff, and just about anything can happen, but if there is ever a team equipped to deal with Immobile it will be Bayern Munich. And while some will lament the inconsistent form of the Bayern Munich defense, the Bavarian back-line is aware of the “red light.”
When this group needs to lockdown and be clutch, they will absolutely do it.
Flick would not let it happen any other way.