Corentin Tolisso has had terrible injury luck during the past two seasons with Bayern Munich. After sustaining a cruciate ligament tear in match-week three last year, the French midfielder missed the rest of the season, only appearing as a late substitute in Bayern’s 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal final at the end of May.
This season, Tolisso has made a total of just 10 league appearances for Bayern, only 6 of which were starts. He did start in three of Bayern’s six Champions League group stage matches or Bayern’s first and second-round matches in the DFB-Pokal. His last start was at the end of November in Bayern’s 6-0 routing of Red Star Belgrade. Of course, he also suffered a minor calf problem for most of December that forced a brief spell on the sidelines, but the Frenchmen still would have hoped for more consistent minutes.
After the 3-1 win over Mainz at the weekend, sporting director Hasan Salihamidizc was asked about Tolisso’s current standing with Hansi Flick. The midfielder had come on for a minute to replace Ivan Perisic. Just a week prior, he played 12 minutes at the end of Bayern’s 5-0 win over Schalke. Salihamidzic said it’s ultimately up to Flick whether Tolisso gets minutes or not:
Rückrunden-Bilanz von #Tolisso: zwei Einsätze, 13 Minuten. #Salihamidzic sagt über d. Weltmeister: "Das sind Fragen, die muss man auch den Trainer fragen. Ich sehe ihn nur gut trainieren, sich reinhauen. Wer letztendlich spielt, entscheidet der Trainer."#FCBayern @CorentinTolisso— Jonas Austermann (@JonasBA90) February 2, 2020
Rückrunde balance for Tolisso: two appearances, 13 minutes. Salihamidzic says about the World Cup champions: “Those are questions that you have to ask the coach. I see him only train well, throw himself into it. The coach decides who plays in the end.”
Too many options in midfield?
Unfortunately for Tolisso, Flick has a plethora of options in midfield. He has shown a recent preference for the triple pivot of Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcantara, and Goretzka. Flick also made it clear that he plans on keeping Kimmich in the midfield instead of moving him back to right-back, as Benjamin Pavard has proven to be a consistent presence there.
At the moment, even Coutinho is struggling to find consistent minutes, as Ivan Perisic has started Bayern’s last two matches on Thomas Müller’s left flank, though Perisic could very well be relegated to the bench when both Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman return to full match fitness.
For Tolisso, he may have to start thinking about his future at Bayern, especially if he wants to stay on Didier Deschamp’s radar for the French National Team. Per L’Equipe, there’s growing concern in the French camp that only features as a substitute for Bayern, especially when a like-for-like midfielder in Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele has impressed at the North London club. In France’s packed midfield, Tolisso faces competition from midfielders like Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kante, Adrien Rabiot, Steven Nzonzi, Houssem Aouar, Tiémoué Bakayoko, and Moussa Sissoko, among others.
From a Bayern perspective, Tolisso might benefit from the busy February across competitions, if Flick is forced to rotate his lineup. Whether he sticks with a 4-3-3 system or decides to revert back to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1, Tolisso will need to make the most of the opportunities that are given to him to stake a better claim in Bayern’s starting lineup.