The last game of 2020 is finally here! Bayern Munich travel to face Bayer Leverkusen in what could be a title-deciding game. Hansi Flick and the team have come under fire for lackluster performances in recent weeks, and this is the final chance to make things right before the Bundesliga stops for a tiny break.
Peter Bosz’s Leverkusen side are flying high right now. They’ve barely noticed the loss of Kai Havertz to Chelsea, and sit top of the table with zero losses this season. Last year, they ended Hansi Flick’s flawless start with a 2-1 win. Can Die Werkself pull it off it again?
The big question you’re probably wondering about is whether Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are fit to play. The answer, unfortunately, is rather ambiguous. In his press conference, Hansi Flick couldn’t confirm either player’s full fitness, saying it would depend on the final training session. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that both will be available.
So, who will be on the lineup? Well, you just know that Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller up top. Hansi Flick said that Kingsley Coman was setting the benchmark at the moment, so the Frenchman is practically guaranteed to start if fit. Who will pair him on the opposite wing is the question of the day — for now, I’ll go with Serge Gnabry, given that Leroy Sane made the big mistake leading to Wolfsburg’s opening goal in midweek. While Sane isn’t the cause of Bayern’s defensive issues this season, he has been ineffective as a starter — coming on as a sub might be a better role for him at the moment.
In midfield, if Kimmich and Goretzka are fit, they’ll start together. But if they’re not fit — maybe we’ll see another chance for Jamal Musiala to start against top opposition. Or maybe Corentin Tolisso will play. Maybe even the lord of shadows himself, Marc Roca, may finally get a start. We wouldn’t count on it though. Unless Hansi has been playing a 600IQ long con to keep Roca a secret only to unleash him on Leverkusen, we’re going to assume that the coach simply doesn’t rate the Spaniard.
Finally, the defense. This is basically not a prediction at this point, but a description of what I want to see tomorrow. Can we please get a backline of Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Niklas Sule, and Benjamin Pavard, in that order? It can’t be that difficult, right? Hanse please, make it a Christmas present.
If the coach listens to that embattled plea, then this is what the lineup could look like tomorrow:
- Corentin Tolisso in midfield instead of either Kimmich or Goretzka.
- David Alaba at center back, either Lucas or Phonzie on the bench.
- Jerome Boateng at center back, with either Lucas or Phonzie on the bench.
- Niklas Sule to RB, moving Pavard to the bench. Boateng can come in at CB.
- Leroy Sane ahead of Serge Gnabry on the wing.
Well, this is stunning. Per Sky’s Torben Hoffmann, Joshua Kimmich will travel with the team to Bayer Leverkusen, while Leon Goretzka will not:
Nach unseren Infos ist #Kimmich im Kader und fliegt mit @FCBayern nach Leverkusen!@leongoretzka_ ist nicht dabei.@SkySportNewsHD @SkySportDE— Torben Hoffmann (@Sky_Torben) December 18, 2020
According to our information is #Kimmich in the squad and flies with @FCBayern to Leverkusen! @leongoretzka_ is not included. @SkySportNewsHD @SkySportDE
This seems to be a total reverse of what many expected to happen. Kimmich has made incredible progress in battling back from a meniscus injury, while Goretzka was not able to recover in time from his “muscular issues.”
I am literally stunned that Kimmich is ready to roll. Will Flick include him in the lineup? I’d think so if Kimmich is traveling, but maybe this is just Flick playing mind games. We’ll see tomorrow!