Either Sebastian Hoeness is a master of the dark arts, or he’s just really really lucky. The last time Bayern Munich faced Hoffenheim, the Bavarians were coming off a grueling 120 minute duel against Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup. The insane fatigue caused by that match eventually lead to Bayern’s first (and only) defeat in 2020.
Now, with revenge in sight, Hansi Flick has been hit by even more setbacks. With his midfield practically obliterated, he stares down one of the few coaches to have ever beaten him.
There’s no news except bad news. Corentin Tolisso and Tanguy Nianzou are still training individually, while Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez are out with the coronavirus. Therefore, Bayern have almost no midfielders left. Meanwhile, Alexander Nubel is injured for three to four weeks, so we can’t even move Manuel Neuer to midfield. What a disaster. Flick might have to do the unthinkable.
So let’s talk about the lineup. Joshua Zirkzee started this game in the Hinrunde, but he’s leaving so we don’t need to care about him anymore. Hoffenheim will have to deal with Robert Lewandowski from minute 1 this time around, with Thomas Muller, Kingsely Coman, and Serge Gnabry likely to support him up top. That attack should be enough to avenge the 4-1, as long as the players have their shooting boots on.
In midfield, we have a golden opportunity for Marc Roca to start alongside Joshua Kimmich. Honestly, if he doesn’t start tomorrow, we’d be better off selling him this window since he’s never gonna get another minute otherwise. With literally everyone who could’ve benched him out of commission, Flick almost has no choice but to start Roca in midfield. Maybe it’s time for a redemption arc.
Behind the midfield we have the defense, and folks should expect Lucas Hernandez to sit this one out. He apparently missed a couple of days of training to get a wisdom tooth removed, so he might not be ready for a spot in the XI tomorrow. That means Alphonso Davies is the likely starter at left-back, with David Alaba and Jerome Boateng at center-back. Benjamin Pavard is the likely candidate to start at right-back, after Niklas Sule was preferred against Schalke.
So, without further ado, here’s how tomorrow’s lineup might look like:
- Niklas Sule for Benjamin Pavard at right-back.
- Niklas Sule for Jerome Boateng at center-back.
- Jamal Musiala for Marc Roca in midfield.