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Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich: Lineups, team news, Thiago back on the squad, and more!

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Cursed with a wealth of riches in midfield, Hansi Flick has a tough choice to make.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Fortuna Duesseldorf - Bundesliga Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Only two teams have beaten Bayern Munich since Hansi Flick took over, and revenge is just over the horizon. Bayer Leverkusen are in the running for a Champions League spot this season, so they will likely put up stern resistance as the Bavarians visit them at their home ground. Having got the better of Flick once, Peter Bosz will want to do it again, while prime Bayern target Kai Havertz will look to show off his talents to watching eyes.

Bayern Munich are still unbeaten in 2020. Will that still be the case after this matchday?

Team news

The good news is Lucas Hernandez and Thiago Alcantara are back in training. The bad news is, practically everyone else who was injured isn’t coming back any time soon. This includes Corentin Tolisso (ankle), Philippe Coutinho (ankle), and Niklas Sule (knee). Of course, Bayern still has enough squad depth to put out a strong lineup.

Hansi Flick probably won’t leave anything to chance versus Bosz. So expect the usual attacking front four of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller up top, flanked by Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman on the wings. The wingers will be especially important in this game, as their efforts will be key to playing past Leverkusen’s press and hitting them hard on the flanks. On the other end of the pitch, Gnabry and Coman will be expected to contribute in defense, which shouldn’t be a problem given their track record thus far. Hopefully, a repeat of the Hinrunde result can be avoided.

The midfield is a bit of a headache for Hansi, as he has to choose between Thiago and Leon Goretzka to partner with Joshua Kimmich. The coach was tight lipped in his press conference, so we can only speculate — but given how much pressure a Bosz team can exert on the midfield, Thiago might win out over Goretzka for his passing ability. Ball progression was a key issue for Bayern in their previous meeting against Leverkusen, so the Spaniard’s signature pivot-turn and excellent carrying ability will be of immense value to the team. Of course this is basically a 50-50 choice, Flick might prefer the more in-form pairing of Kimmich and Goretzka. We’ll just have to see.

Finally, in defense. Fans of Lucas Hernandez, despair — your boy is unlikely to get a start tomorrow. Flick said Alphonso Davies will not be rested despite playing so many games in a row, citing the lockdown as an impromptu rest. This suggests that the coach is planning to go with his usual tried-and-true defensive lineup that was deployed against Chelsea and Leipzig.

Expect Davies at left back with David Alaba and Jerome Boateng at center back. Benjamin Pavard will surely be at right back and Manuel Neuer will start in goal. That about wraps it up for the lineup. Here it is in a visual format, because no one actually reads these things:

Other options:

  • Lucas in for Boateng at center back, if Hansi prefers more speed in the backline.
  • Goretzka in for Thiago in midfield.