Bayern Munich have a big problem on their hands. After playing 120 minutes against Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup, the team have three games in the span of a week — Hoffenheim on Sunday, Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, and then Hertha Berlin on the Sunday after. All three of those teams are tough opponents, so Hansi Flick has some hard decisions to make about his lineup and squad choices.
With the transfer window winding down and no reinforcements in sight, this coming week could end up becoming a preview for a very difficult Hinrunde.
Aside from Tanguy Nianzou (thigh), Bayern Munich appear to have a fully fit squad for tomorrow’s game. Even Javi Martinez, who was supposed to complete a transfer to Athletic Bilbao this week, is in the team and eligible to play. There’s a question mark over Kingsley Coman, who is waiting for the result of his latest covid test — if it comes out negative, he may be able to join the squad and make a cameo from the bench against Hoffenheim.
So what about the lineup? Well, there’s very little choice as far as the starting XI goes — Hansi Flick will want Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller up top, supported by his first-choice wingers in Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane. Hopefully none of those players will have to play the full 90 thanks to a five substitutions rule, because they really worked hard against Sevilla. This is an occasion where Ivan Perisic could’ve really come in handy, we wish he hadn’t gone back to Inter.
Midfield is another tough one — Joshua Kimmich is practically a robot, but even he must get tired from time to time. Still Flick probably can’t do without him against an opponent as good as Hoffenheim, so he and Goretzka will likely play in the middle. Javi Martinez may make another cameo near the end of the game, just to give fans a final taste before he leaves forever.
Finally, in defense — things are a bit chaotic right now. It’s hard to tell who sits where in the pecking order. David Alaba, after being a bona fide starter last season, seems like a favorite to be dropped from the lineup for his current performances (yes, I said DROPPED, not rested). Meanwhile, Lucas Hernandez and Alphonso Davies share the same position, and the Frenchman took advantage of the Canadian’s momentary absence to give a great account of himself against Schalke and Sevilla.
The obvious answer would be to let Alaba sit on the bench, and play Lucas at left center-back and Davies at left back. However, Lucas doesn’t have the ball-playing ability of Alaba, and it also brings him into competition with Jerome Boateng, who has been rock-solid under Flick. So this leaves a bunch of possibilities for the coach in defense.
The only players we think will start for certain are Niklas Sule at center back, Benjamin Pavard at right-back, and finally Manuel Neuer at goalkeeper. So the following lineup image isn’t really a proper prediction, but just what we want to see Hansi Flick try for once:
Kingsley Coman is indeed back in training. He will probably be an option from the bench against Hoffenheim.