It’s always tough to focus on the league when you have a big Champions League fixture a few days away. But for Hansi Flick, that’s part of the job, as he is faced with the task of beating SC Paderborn and maintaining Bayern Munich’s lead over RB Leipzig in the league table. Getting all three points is imperative, but the coach will be well aware that he has to rest some key players as well.
Niklas Sule, Javi Martinez, and Ivan Perisic are still injured. Hansi Flick isn’t even mentioning them in press conferences any more, so maybe we should stop reiterating this point in every lineups article. Jerome Boateng and Benjamin Pavard both got their fifth yellows against Koln, so they’re suspended. Aside from that, Bayern have a full squad available.
So, the lineup — Robert Lewandowski will start up front, as always. Thomas Muller is a prime candidate to be rested this week, as he will be expected to start against Chelsea on Tuesday. Philippe Coutinho will probably take his place at attacking midfield, and Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman should take their usual positions on the wings. There’s a chance one of them may be rested to save them for the Champions League, but Hansi may want his wingers to get more game time under their belt first.
In midfield, Joshua Kimmich will probably start alongside Leon Goretzka, with Thiago Alcantara rested. If not Goretzka, then Corentin Tolisso might be given some minutes just to get him up to speed — Paderborn are dead last in the league table, so they’re the perfect opposition for the Frenchman to get his groove back.
In defense, Flick confirmed that Alvaro Odriozola will get his first start for Bayern owing to the suspension of Benjamin Pavard. The Real Madrid loanee will start at right back, Pavard’s usual position. It’s a huge opportunity for the 24-year-old to impress his new teammates, and hopefully he’ll rise to the occasion and prove himself a reliable backup for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile at left back, Alphonso Davies is another player who could really use some rest, but Flick can’t give it to him because Bayern’s defense is stretched to the limit at the moment. David Alaba and Lucas Hernandez, the two other left backs in the squad, both have to play in central defense, meaning Bayern will have three left-footed players playing together in the backline. If this goes as well as it did against Koln last week, then Manuel Neuer might have a tough day ahead of him.
So, without further ado, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Paderborn:
Leon Goretzka did not get on the team bus. No idea what this means as of yet. Could he be injured?
UPDATE FCB— Torben Hoffmann (@Sky_Torben) February 21, 2020
Ausfall @leongoretzka_ am Abend droht...
Der Mittelfeldspieler hat deutlich vor der Mannschaft im Auto die Säbener verlassen und ist NICHT in den Mannschaftsbus eingestiegen!
Der Verein @FCBayern wollte sich dazu nicht äußern.@SkySportNewsHD @SkySportDE