It’s been almost a week since the last matchday and the Bundesliga hasn’t been cancelled yet, so it appears that Germany’s version of Project Restart is officially in full swing. This time, Bayern Munich have the displeasure of playing in front of empty home stands as they host Eintracht Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper matchday without some injury headaches to sort out, and Hansi Flick has a big one on his hands. Star midfielder Thiago Alcantara is doubtful for the game, and with a clash against Borussia Dortmund looming in midweek, there’s no telling whether he can be risked.
Let’s catch up with absences first, because there are a few. Philippe Coutinho and Corentin Tolisso will both miss this game with long-term ankle injuries, which rule them out for the time being. Meanwhile Serge Gnabry and Thiago Alcantara, both starters against Union Berlin, were unable to train for most of the week. In his press conference, Hansi Flick confirmed that Gnabry was indeed back, but the Spaniard is still doubtful.
So let’s talk about the lineup. Robert Lewandowski will surely start up top, with Thomas Müller most likely behind him. I know we predicted that last time and it turned out to be wrong, but without Thiago, Leon Goretzka will have to play in midfield, limiting Hansi’s options. Flanking the two strikers will likely be Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman — the dynamic duo need some time together before the BVB game.
In midfield, Leon Goretzka will probably replace Thiago as the primary progressor and ball-winner, while Joshua Kimmich will reprise his Alonso-esque role of protecting the defense and keeping the team’s possession from getting stale. Although losing Thiago is a big blow, it’s softened by the fact that Kimmich and Goretzka have an excellent understanding with each other — the two of them form a pairing greater than the sum of its parts.
Finally, in defense, expect little to no change. In his presser, Flick confirmed that Lucas Hernandez is fit, but he wants continuity in times like these. So expect the usual back four with Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard at fullback, and David Alaba plus Jerome Boateng in central defense. Covering for them will be Manuel Neuer, who’s hopefully raring to go after securing a new contract earlier this week.
So without further ado, here’s what we think the lineup will look like: