Bayer Leverkusen were 2nd in the Bundesliga when Bayern Munich visited them. They got smashed 5-1. Now, Benfica are 2nd in their Champions League group with Bayern set to visit them. Is another massive win on the cards?
Well, probably not. Julian Nagelsmann has a few key absences coming into this game, and they could end up being quite relevant. If Bayern fail to win this, then the group could end up with a fascinating outcome — one that potentially puts Bayern in 2nd place and pushes Barcelona to the Europa League. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, though. Being second doesn’t feel nice.
The bad news is that both Alphonso Davies (hamstring) and Leon Goretzka (cold) are out for this one. Both players have started almost every game under Nagelsmann, so the coach will need to find some quick solutions to deal with their absence. At least Lucas Hernandez is still available to be selected, but that might not be the case for much longer, depending on how the Spanish courts rule.
Let’s discuss the lineup. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller were both pulled from the Leverkusen game to be in good shape for tomorrow, so they’re certainly going to start. Joining them will likely be Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane on the wings, both of whom are in incredible form at the moment. Don’t expect them to play the full 90, though. Nagelsmann has his substitutes for that.
In midfield, for once we can expect a different pairing. Marcel Sabitzer is set to start his first ever game in the middle for Bayern Munich, slotting in alongside Joshua Kimmich in the absence of Goretzka. Sabitzer has slowly been integrating with the team over the course of several weeks now, and this will be our first chance to see how the Austrian fares from kickoff. Fingers crossed for a good game.
In defense, with Phonzie out, Lucas Hernandez will need to shuffle into left-back and cause the entire backline to shift one space over. Niklas Sule and Dayot Upamecano can handle themselves in central defense, while Benjamin Pavard will likely make his return to the starting XI at right-back. Other options for Nagelsmann include younger players like Omar Richards and Josip Stanisic, but they will likely be relegated to cameo appearances only. Manuel Neuer, as always, will play in goal.
With that out of the way, here’s how the lineup should look:
- Jamal Musiala or Kingsley Coman in for either of the wingers.
- Josip Stanisic at right-back instead of Pavard.
- Marc Roca actually makes the squad for once. Novel concept, I know.
Bavarian Podcast Works: Preview Show — Bayern Munich vs. Benfica in the Champions League
Ah...the Champions League is back, baby!
Bayern Munich will travel to Lisbon, Portugal to take on Benfica in what should be a very entertaining match between an extremely deep and talented squad for the visitors and an experienced, veteran squad in Benfica.
Here is what we have on tap for this episode:
- The recent form of both clubs.
- A couple of players that Bayern Munich fans should keep an eye on: Darwin Nunez and Julian Weigl. Nunez has been loosely linked to the Bavarians, while Weigl is a one-time Borussia Dortmund and German national team prospect, who seems to have found a comfort zone in Portugal.
- A prediction for the lineup and why we could see Lucas Hernandez at eft-back and Marcel Sabitzer filling in for Leon Goretzka.
- A prediction on the final score.