It’s time for some DFB Pokal action! As Hansi Flick gears up for his first cup game in charge of Bayern Munich, he has a challenging set of circumstances to deal with — the Bavarians once again find themselves a little light in the winger department, and a key match versus RB Leizpig is just a few days away. Hansi has to beat Hoffenheim while avoiding extra time, while also dealing with a sudden and unexpected change to the predicted lineup. How will he cope?
Niklas Sule and Javi Martinez are out, but we knew that coming into the game. The real problem is the surprise injury to Ivan Perisic in today’s training. With the Croatian sidelined, Hansi Flick loses an in-form player and a valuable candidate for the wings. Kingsley Coman and Lucas Hernandez are still not 100% fit yet, which makes things even more difficult for the coach.
With that in mind, let’s talk about the lineup. Robert Lewandowski will surely start up top. Hansi Flick claims Serge Gnabry is at 100% and ready to play, but he’s not started a game since the turn of the year and might be too rusty to play against Hoffenheim. Therefore, Philippe Coutinho may be the best compromise candidate for the left wing, with Thomas Muller manning the right. It’s definitely not ideal for Bayern to go into the game with zero natural wingers on the pitch, but that’s the hand the club has been dealt. The football gods are cruel.
In midfield, we should expect to see a familiar trio of Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara, and Joshua Kimmich. Goretzka and Thiago have been in amazing form as of late, and Kimmich is essentially undroppable at this club so he’s guaranteed to play. As they say — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and this midfield certainly ain’t broke yet.
Finally, in defense, expect zero changes from last week. Alphonso Davies will continue his stint at left back, while David Alaba will be at left center back. Both of these players had disappointing games (by their high standards) against Mainz, so they’ll be looking to turn up the heat in the cup. Jerome Boateng will line up next to Alaba in central defense, with the ever-reliable Benjamin Pavard at right back.
Here’s how the lineup might look:
According to Florian Plettenberg of Sport1, Alvaro Odriozola will most likely be on the bench tonight as he still has technical and tactical deficits. Also Pavard is just doing better at the moment. Bayern will apparently search for a new right back in the summer.
Höchstwahrscheinlich wird #Odriozola auch heute nicht in der Startelf stehen. Ihm werden technische und taktische Defizite nachgesagt. Die Startelf ist für ihn momentan weit weg. Auch, weil es #Pavard immer besser macht. Für die neue Saison wird ein RV gesucht. @SPORT1 #FCBTSG— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) February 5, 2020
Most likely will #Odriozola will not be in the starting XI today. He is said to have technical and tactical deficits. The starting eleven is far away for him at the moment. Also because #Pavard is doing better. A new RB is being sought for the new season. @SPORT1 #FCBTSG