Bad news for Bayern Munich fans. While the club hasn’t explicitly confirmed it, multiple reliable outlets are reporting that Benjamin Pavard won’t be able to take part in the club’s upcoming Champions league campaign. The Frenchman suffered an ankle injury in training and is set to miss four to six weeks.
As reported by both Bild and Le Equipe, Pavard won’t be fit in time for the latter stages of the Champions League, which begins in August. This presents a dilemma for Bayern, who still have to beat Chelsea in the second leg of their Ro16 tie in Munich on the 8th. Provided the team get past them, they’re scheduled to face the winner of the Barcelona vs Napoli tie in the quarter finals.
Alvaro Odriozola has been Pavard’s understudy this season, but it remains to be seen if he’s trusted by Flick against strong opponents like Chelsea and Barca. Joshua Kimmich is the only other player with experience at right back — he was the starter before Pavard arrived, after all — but he faces the risk of being suspended for the quarter finals if he picks up another yellow card. Bayern won’t want to lose Kimmich for yet another big UCL game, after what happened against Liverpool last season.
This puts Flick in almost a lose-lose position. Chelsea have improved since they last played Bayern, with the return of Christian Pulisic partly to blame. Given that he’s mainly a left winger, he would have matched up against Pavard in the second leg. This makes the Frenchman’s injury all the more devastating.
At least Bayern go into the game with a three-goal lead, so they can afford to play more conservative than usual — but given that the team will be rusty, and Flick will have to jury-rig a lineup together for the game on August 8, advancement to the next round doesn’t seem as clear-cut as it used to. Let’s wait till Bayern’s friendly against Marseille on the 31st to see what Flick decides to do with this conundrum — hopefully, he’s got something up his leave.