Just days after the DFB Pokal game, Bayern Munich are back in action against Borussia Mönchengladbach, one of only two teams to beat Hansi Flick since he took over as coach. This game will be much harder than usual owing to the lack of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller, leaving the club very few options up top. Bayern’s unbeaten record in 2020 faces its biggest threat yet.
The headline news is that neither Lewandowski nor Müller will feature in this game due to yellow card accumulation. Having the top scorer and the top assist provider in Europe out at the same time isn’t ideal, and it’s compounded by the fact that midfield maestro Thiago Alcantara has been sidelined for the season by a groin surgery. This necessitates the complete overhaul of the team and its tactics, made more difficult by the quality of opponent on display.
So how will the team line up? You’d think that Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry would be the first two names on the team sheet. Unfortunately, however, Gnabry is also doubtful for the game, which makes things even more complicated. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that he can feature. That would still leave the striker and attacking midfield positions empty.
The most likely candidate to start up top is Joshua Zirkzee. The Dutch youngster did a fine job starting ahead of Lewy when the latter was injured, so he’s the likeliest candidate to do it again. Meanwhile, in the continued absence of Philippe Coutinho, Leon Goretzka is the only player who can slot into Muller’s spot on the lineup. Goretzka isn’t as creative or visionary as the raumdeuter, but he’s quick, strong, and has a nose for goal, making him an excellent understudy.
The midfield is where things get even messier. In the absence of Thiago, there’s no obvious partner to pair up with Joshua Kimmich. Javi Martinez is the most likely candidate to start, given that he got an outing against Eintracht Frankfurt midweek and is more experienced than Michael Cuisance, the other potential starter. Hansi Flick has shown a willingness to give the Frenchman minutes, but against a team like Gladbach he’s more likely to opt for the more experienced campaigner.
The defense is probably the only part of tomorrow’s lineup that’s set in stone. David Alaba and Jerome Boateng will almost certainly start in central defense, with Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard flanking them on the wings. The backline will be especially important, given that defensive errors is what allowed Gladbach to get the better of Bayern last winter.
So here’s how we think the team will line up:
- Wreidt instead of Zirkzee at striker.
- Gnabry instead of Zirkzee at striker, Perisic on the wing.
- Perisic instead of Gnabry on the wing.
- Michael Cuisance in for Javi Martinez.
- Gnabry and Zirkzee up top, Perisic on the wing. Kimmich-Goretzka pivot.