Bayern Munich play on a Sunday this week, which basically ruined both my Saturday and most of my Friday. But no matter! As long as Hansi and the boys win tomorrow’s game, things will be just fine. Right?
According to the coach, Lucas Hernandez and Jerome Boateng are both fit and ready to return to the lineup. Could this be a chance to finally rest David Alaba? Maybe. Meanwhile, Kingsley Coman is not yet ready to return to pitch (surprise surprise!) and Ivan Perisic fails to show that he’s the Croatian Wolverine by recovering from his injury a few weeks early.
But the big headline injury is that of Robert Lewandowski, who is still recovering from a tibia fracture he suffered in Bayern’s 3-0 win over Chelsea in the Champions League. The Bavarians have now played two games without their star forward, and one thing is very clear — this team cannot function without a real striker.
For Sunday’s game against Augsburg, Hansi Flick needs to bring Joshua Zirkzee back into the starting XI. Without him up top, Thomas Muller seems completely lost, while the rest of the attackers like Serge Gnabry and Philippe Coutinho are rendered impotent. Ideally, Flick will start Zirkzee up top in Bayern’s preferred 4-2-3-1 configuration, or else well see another flaccid attacking performance like the one against Schalke.
Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich are in great form, so there’s no reason for the coach to drop them at the moment. However, Flick may want to give his other midfielders a run out, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Leon Goretzka or Corentin Tolisso get a run instead. Javi Martinez is also back from injury, but he’s unlikely to start. The less said about Michael Cuisance, the better.
In defense, we can expect to see the return of Ol’ Reliable — Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard at fullback, with David Alaba and Jerome Boateng in central defense. If Hansi is so inclined, he might decide to rest either Alaba or Davies and bring on Lucas, but that’s his call. For now, it’s unlikely that there will be any surprises in defense tomorrow. Manuel Neuer will definitely be happy about that.
Without further ado, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Augsburg on Sunday: