Bayern Munich won the treble less than a month ago, but football waits for no team. Last season’s accomplishments give way to a brand new grind as the Bundesliga record champions prepare for the opener. This time, the game is against Schalke, a perennial punching bag for the Bavarians, but coach Hansi Flick has some major squad issues to figure out before the season officially begins.
It’s early days, but the Bayern Munich of this season feels like a weaker side than the last. While the core of the side is mostly intact, Thiago Alcantara’s move to Liverpool deprives Hansi Flick of one of the best midfielders in the world. Meanwhile, Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho’s departures leave the squad without a fourth choice backup at the winger position, which is already a cause for concern.
Bayern Munich will be without Kingsley Coman for the game. The Frenchman came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. While he tested negative yesterday, quarantine protocols mean that he won’t be able to rejoin the team before this Friday. This means that Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry are the most likely wingers to start up top, to support the attacking duo of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.
The prospect of seeing Sane finally start in an official game is hugely exciting for Bayern fans, but we must remember that he is nowhere near full fitness. Maybe a game against his former team might inspire a special performance, but don’t expect a full 90 out of him just yet. This is where backups like Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho are missed — they would’ve been perfect for this game.
In midfield, Hansi Flick’s choices become easy as there’s no need to consider Thiago any longer. Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are surefire starters for the spot — neither Corentin Tolisso are realistic options at this stage of the competition. Once the games start flowing thick and fast? Sure. But not right now.
In defense, David Alaba returned to team training today, so he will be available to start against Schalke. While his contract situation remains to be clarified, Hansi Flick will probably rely on him until and unless he decides to leave. Jerome Boateng, who suffered an injury in the Champions League final, is also back in training — however, in his press conference, Flick mentioned him as an “option”, suggesting that Niklas Sule will get the nod ahead of him.
The fullback positions will be covered by the usual figures — Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard. Rounding out the defense is captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Alex Nubel will have to wait a little longer to face his former club.
With all that out of the way, here’s how we think Bayern will line up tomorrow:
Update: India has an official broadcaster!
Big news for a lot of people who read BFW, India finally has an official broadcaster for the game and the upcoming season. Take a look:
New broadcasting partnership in India with @FanCode: for the first time ever, Indian sports fans will have access to every single #Bundesliga match exclusively on the FanCode platform ⚽️— DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga (@DFL_Official) September 18, 2020
Read more ➡️ https://t.co/uvqivsGma1 pic.twitter.com/OWE54o9A5C
Bad news guys, looks like Alaba is injured and won't be able to play. This is a chance for Lucas Hernandez to make his impact on the lineup.