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Midweek Warm-up: Bayern Munich’s thin state; DFL-Supercup predictions; and MORE!

Hansi Flick’s mettle as Bayern Munich manager could be tested by the squad’s lack of depth.

1899 Hoffenheim - Bavaria Munich Photo by Uwe Anspach/picture alliance via Getty Images

The next few days figure to be active on this site. Bayern Munich is engaged in transfer discussions to send away both Michael Cuisance (Leeds United) and Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), with the Bavarians also allegedly ready to loan out recently-acquired goalkeeper Alexander Nübel.

With Sergino Dest taking his medical exam with FC Barcelona — and Bayern Munich allegedly feeling a bit stung by that decision — Hansi Flick is left looking at a very inexperienced and thin bench.

At wing, Kinglsey Coman is the top reserve, but he is already back into his role as a starter given Leroy Sane’s injury and the potential departure of Cuisance and Martinez leave the midfield especially thin on experience and depth.

With the exception of a formal, back-up right back, Bayern Munich seems set defensively because of the versatility of players like David Alaba, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Joshua Kimmich, Chris Richards, and Tanguy Nianzou (when healthy).

Midfield and forward, however, remain concerning. Legitimate questions can be raised on Flick having to trust youngsters like Joshua Zirkzee and Jamal Musiala, who both offer tantalizing potential, but might not necessarily be ready to turn in a heavy workload with the first-team.

If Bayern Munich strikes out on making additional “impact transfers” during this window, Flick will have to weather the storm as best he can until the winter transfer window opens. If there was ever a time to trust in Flick, this would be it. The manager might be tested greatly in the coming weeks, but there is nothing to say he won’t step up to the challenge like he did last season in filling in for Niko Kovac.

Injuries? In-Sane!

The knee injury to Leroy Sane is going to be something to keep an eye on for Bayern Munich. Sane, who looked electric against Schalke 04, inefficient against Sevilla, and lackadaisical against Hoffenheim, is suffering from an injury to the same knee that he tore his ACL in during the 2019/2020 season.

Bayern Munich is lucky to have Coman as a reserve, but both Coman and Gnabry have also had horrific luck dealing with injuries. Where Ivan Perisic was so valuable last season for Bayern Munich was with his ability to seamlessly slide into whatever role Flick needed him to play. Without Perisic, Bayern Munich is left with options like Thomas Muller or Musiala as potential wings in the event of more injuries. Neither Muller nor Musiala, of course, are true wingers.

Will we eventually see Leon Dajaku or will Brazzo be able to swing a deal for more wing depth? Depending on how Sane’s knee holds up, this could be an absolute key to the season.

Fargo-ne conclusion?

I was a huge fan of the first three seasons of Fargo, but have yet to crack open the new season’s opening episodes from my DVR. For some reason, I am hesitant. I really like both Jason Schwartzman and Chris Rock, but for some reason my brain is just not ready to process them as organized crime leaders. I am sure I will come around to it soon enough.

Everyone knows Rock and the energy he brings to almost anything, but if you are looking for a low-maintenance, sneaky good comedy, check out Schwartzman in the old HBO series Bored to Death, which was axed prematurely. With Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zach Galifianakis as the primary characters, there are a lot laughs. Truthfully, I was hesitant to watch it back in the day when it was featured on HBO (gah! 2009!), but it has some quality comedy.

Predictions (yikes)

Well, last week was an absolute disaster in terms of predictions and given Bayern Munich’s lethargic performance against Hoffenheim — and an injury to Leroy Sane — you could really argue that Borussia Dortmund is catching the Bavarians at just the right time.

TSG Hoffenheim v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
A knee injury to Leroy Sane will leave him out of action for three to four weeks.
Photo by TF Images/Getty Images

Dortmund might still be stinging from a shocking loss of its own to FC Augsburg (Fuggerstädter!), but BVB likely already had its eyes on the DFL-Supercup showdown with Bayern Munch. Lucien Favre might be his team’s weakest link, but he has plenty of weapons to choose from and each present a significant challenge to the Bavarians.

On a team where Julian Brandt, Thomas Delaney, and Marius Wolf are mostly relegated to substitute roles, Favre absolutely has talent and depth to work with for days. Dortmund, however, is back in the position of needing to prove that it can slay Bayern Munich. The stunningly talented core of Erling Braut Håland, Jadon Sancho, Axel Witsel, Mats Hummels and the freshly healthy Marco Reus, all offer significant challenges for Flick and his squad over the course of this season. Again, though, it is hard to believe that Dortmund is ready to topple Die Roten until we actually see it happen.

In an odd stroke of “luck” for this match considering Bayern Munich’s recent news, both Sancho and goalkeeper Roman Burki will both miss the game due to respective respiratory infections for Dortmund.

Acknowledging all of that above, I am going to go with Bayern Munich. To paraphrase a coach, who once gave a speech to a team I was on before playing a rival...”’s f***** Dortmund!” That was it...that was speech. Maybe that is all Flick will have to say to get his boys ready for action.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Here are some other predictions from the BFW staff. This week Jake Fenner and Tom Adams — my Bavarian Podcast Works brethren — take a run breaking down how this contest will shake out:

Jake Fenner: The one thing you can constantly expect from Borussia Dortmund is the ability to adapt. Whether or not they can hold it together is a completely separate question. In the weird 3-4-1-2 formation Lucien Favre is running, BVB fans might hope that adaptation happens sooner rather than later, especially given all the injuries this team has. I expect for Dortmund to struggle this game, not just because of the opponent, but because most of the players in a 2-0 weekend loss to Augsburg were starters. With a hampered backline of Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels and Emre Can, who really seems out of place. Bayern are exhausted, but after Erling Håland and Jadon Sancho played all 90’ I think Dortmund will have just as hard of a time. I expect tired legs and short tempers in this one.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Dortmund

Tom Adams: This is really going to be about calculated risks from both sides. Both Bayern and Dortmund are coming off of difficult losses in the league, and Bayern, in particular, have a lot of minutes clocked on their legs in a short span of time with the UEFA Supercup against Sevilla. Hansi Flick and Lucien Favre will really have to be careful with their squad selections and lineup decisions because neither will want to risk dropping points this weekend in the league, but they also won’t want to take the DFL-Supercup lightly. Again, it will all be about calculated risks, but I really think Dortmund will be going for it and we’ll likely see Sancho, Haaland, Reus up top along with the usual suspects in their back line (Hummels, Akanji, Can). Maybe, though, Favre will make some changes to his midfield and I’d personally hope that Flick makes some rotations to give players more of a rest ahead of a tricky Hertha Berlin clash on Sunday.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-2 Borussia Dortmund (Bayern wins on PKs)

Last week’s record: 0-9 (It is truly impressive to perform that awfully at anything. Kudos to me!)

Season record: 4-14 (This should put me in the running for a future job with the New York Jets at least!)

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