The Champions League literally JUST restarted, and it’s almost over. Such is the post-covid era, I suppose. Bayern Munich emerged from quarantine much like how the Doomguy awoke from his slumber in DOOM 2016 — appropriately enraged and ready to crush all enemies into a fine red paste.
Many weeks of ripping and tearing later, European football has been suitably chastised by the great red giant, with only two games remaining in the season. Hansi Flick and his men will be eyeing the final of the Champions League — Bayern’s first since 2013. However they must first make it past a young and determined Lyon side at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.
Despite finishing 7th in Ligue 1, Olympique Lyonnais deserve the moniker of giant-killers this season. They’ve knocked out both Juventus and Manchester City, both early favorites for the title, so no one can doubt their place in the semifinals. Bayern, therefore, have no room to take it easy on them.
Hansi Flick won’t make the same mistake Pep Guardiola did and change his tactics. Instead, he will choose to meet Rudi Garcia’s men head on. That means starting Robert Lewandowski up top, with Thomas Muller supporting him from the second striker position.
Ivan Perisic has done well so far since the UCL restart, so he may get the nod over Kingsley Coman. This is one of the two choices Hansi Flick will have to make for the game, and arguably the easier decision to make. Regardless of which player starts, the other can be subbed on with ease.
Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry will likely start on the right flank. While Philippe Coutinho scored twice and assisted once in his short cameo against Barcelona, the Brazilian is still expected to start from the bench. Let’s hope he’s ready for another explosive substitute appearance.
The midfield is where things get complicated. With Benjamin Pavard returning to team training, Hansi Flick could decide to return him to the lineup and move Joshua Kimmich back to the center. This would certainly improve Bayern defensively, but could compromise the functioning midfield pairing of Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka. As seen against City, Lyon have a formidable midfield — Houssem Aouar, Maxcence Caqueret, and Bruno Guimares are more than capable of giving Bayern a hard time in the center of the park. On the other hand, Hansi needs to be wary of counterattacks down the right hand side — Pavard would help immensely in dealing with those.
In the end, Flick seems like the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of guy. Taking Pep’s warning to heart, he will probably choose the same midfield pairing that he chose against Barcelona. Benjamin Pavard will most likely be subbed on around the 60th minute.
Finally, in defense — following on from the previous section, expect Joshua Kimmich to start at right-back, and zero changes from the Barca game. Alphonso Davies will probably start in his usual position at left-back, and David Alaba and Jerome Boateng will pair up in central defense. Manuel Neuer, as always, will be in goal.
With that out of the way, here’s how we think Bayern Munich will line up against Lyon in the Champions League:
Other lineup options:
- Benjamin Pavard at right-back, with Joshua Kimmich in midfield. Thiago or Goretzka on the bench.
- Kingsley Coman instead of Ivan Perisic on the left wing.
- Niklas Sule instead of Jerome Boateng at center back.
Hansi Flick confirms that Pavard won’t start, confirming that Kimmich will be at RB.
️ #Flick: "@BenPavard28 has worked hard. We're happy that he's here. We will wait and see how training goes today. He won't start, but he is an option for tomorrow's matchday squad." #MissionLis6on #OLFCB pic.twitter.com/AoR7zLFg2v— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 18, 2020
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According to TZ's Manuel Bonke, Ivan Perisic trained with the A team. This essentially means he's gonna start over Coman.
Ivan Perišić was in the A team during the final training before tomorrow's game [@mano_bonke]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) August 18, 2020