Goretzka Out! [Update 6:25AM EST]
Leon Goretzka did not travel with the team to Holstein Kiel as he picked up a calf injury per the club.
@leongoretzka_ took a hit on the calf during training and will therefore not travel to Kiel with the team.
Zirkzee travels with the squad [Update 6:20AM EST]
Bayern Munich striker Joshua Zirkzee, on the other hand, has officially travelled with the squad to face Holstein Kiel. After being suspended for three Bundesliga games over the weekend, Zirkzee is still eligible for the DFB-Pokal.
Die Bayern sind gerade aufgebrochen Richtung Kiel. Auch mit dabei: Joshua Zirkzee. pic.twitter.com/jxpuum4zxz— Heiko Niedderer (@itstheicebird) January 13, 2021
The Bavarians have just left for Kiel. Also there: Joshua Zirkzee.
Zirkzee has had a crazy week. Heavily linked to a move to Eintracht Frankfurt, the Dutch youngster not only picked up that aforementioned suspension, but then could only sit back and watch Die Adler reportedly make a deal for Real Madrid hitman Luka Jovic.
If the Jovic move goes through without a hitch, Zirkzee will need to find another destination for a loan or transfer.
After suffering a disappointing loss at the hands of Bundesliga contenders Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Munich set their eyes on the DFB-Pokal round of 16. The Bavarians meet 2. Bundesliga side Holstein Kiel for the first time since 2005, in their first midweek fixture of the year 2021.
The North Germans, currently sitting third in second division, host the Munich giants on the back of a 1-1 draw with FC St. Pauli. However, they are no minnows to be trifled with, particularly in the German Pokal where they hammered seven goals in their previous round victory.
As is customary, coach Hansi Flick gave a few updates but remained tight-lipped about the rest of his selection.
Kingsley Coman and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting are the two big names ruled out of the tie. The former is battling muscle discomfort, while the backup center-forward is suffering from back pain. Apart from the two, youngling Tanguy Nianzou remains a long-term absentee.
The good news is that Serge Gnabry is set to return to action after completing full team training. The chef, who has been going through a rough patch this season, is well-rested after sitting out against the Foals. Flick has instilled an insatiate hunger for goals in this team and Kiel are just the opponent for Gnabry to roar back to his goal scoring form.
ℹ️ #Flick: "As things stand today, @SergeGnabry will be able to play tomorrow. He completed training in full and I'm not expecting that to have a negative impact on him. He's part of the plan." #KSVFCB #packmas pic.twitter.com/fcH4HKHD1S— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 12, 2021
Alongside Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski can be safely assumed to start in their default positions, while Leroy Sane will continue to man the right-wing. Douglas Costa, Jamal Musiala and Joshua Zirkzee will remain as the possible attacking options from the bench. As per Bild, Choupo-Moting could be replaced by Dutchman Zirkzee as his Bundesliga ban doesn’t apply in Pokal games.
In midfield, Flick doesn’t have too many creative options, despite having five first team central-midfielders at his disposal. Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich are expected to retain their spots in the double pivot. The two will be crucial in providing control, stability and dynamism to the team setup. Moreover, it is unlikely that Frenchman Corentin Tolisso or the still unintegrated Marc Roca is risked in a cup game.
Defense is where things get a bit tricky. Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Sule, David Alaba and Alphonso Davies were all part of the Bavarians’ lackluster outing against Monchengladbach. From the aforementioned quartet, central defense looks to be the area where the coach might opt for rotation.
Jerome Boateng and Lucas Hernandez are expected to be fielded at the heart of the defense. While Alaba remains of paramount importance to Flick’s plans, the Austrian might be rested for the crucial league fixture against SC Freiburg. On the right side, Niklas Sule will make way for veteran Jerome Boateng. Both Boateng and Hernandez last started together in Die Roten’s hard-fought 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen. As good as Kiel are, the Boateng-Hernandez pairing is more than capable of taking care of the ball-playing as well as the ball-winning tasks of the game.
Finally, captain Manuel Neuer should start in between the sticks, ahead of Alexander Nübel. With the defense looking shaky under the transitioning FlickiFlacka tactics, superman Neuer’s sweeping remains more important than ever.
Without further ado, here’s our lineup for the match:
Other options and humble suggestions:
- Corentin Tolisso in midfield for (and only for) Leon Goretzka. Please, not the dreaded Goretzka-Tolisso pivot.
- David Alaba and Lucas Hernandez at central defense.
- Alaba at center-back and Hernandez at right-back. Two pace-y full backs on both sides of the defense. Get creative, Hansi!
- Jamal Musiala at right-wing for Leroy Sane.
- Marc Roca in midfield alongside Goretzka. A reminiscence of the Champions League winning Thiago-Goretzka pivot.