It’s ironic that on the day that the Allianz Arena finally welcomes back a full-capacity crowd, the Bayern Munich coach will not be there to enjoy it. Julian Nagelsmann is set to become football’s first work-from-home coach as he seeks to lead his team to a win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim from the comfort of his own home. Sounds like a cushy job, if you can get it.
Unfortunately, a missing coach is the least of Bayern’s concerns, as the team also have a couple of key absentees heading into the match. With a DFB Pokal clash against Borussia Monchengladbach looming in midweek, Bayern need to balance healthy rotation versus the pressure of getting all three points. No big deal, right?
Let’s get the big news out first. Per Nagelsmann, both Alphonso Davies and Leon Goretzka are yet to reach 100% and will NOT play against Hoffenheim. This is being done with an eye to the Gladbach game, where their talents will definitely be needed. Other than that, Bayern have no major injuries to report — all players have tested negative, including the five mystery unvaccinated players on the squad.
So, what does this mean for the lineup? Well, as usual, we can expect Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller to start up top. Muller’s role as player-coach becomes especially important in Nagelsmann’s absence, as he and Dino Topmoller will be expected to pick up the slack from a tactics standpoint.
On the wings, expect Serge Gnabry to start, given that he was on the bench for the Benfica game — and probably Leroy Sane to again play on the left. Personally I want to see Jamal Musiala get a shot at the starting XI for a change, but it seems that Nagelsmann doesn’t even see the youngster as a winger, and would rather bring him on as a substitute for Thomas Muller. Hopefully, the coach will rest Sane and start Musiala against Hoffenheim, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
As for the midfield, with Goretzka out, Marcel Sabitzer will get a second chance at the starting XI to improve on his mediocre performance vs Benfica in the Champions League. The Austrian has plenty to prove and has a golden opportunity to show what he can do — he really needs to play better than he has been. He’ll have Joshua Kimmich next to him to help out, which always makes things easier for any player.
Now for the defense — provided we don’t see any back-three nonsense, you can expect Lucas Hernandez to take Davies’ place at left-back, with Dayot Upamecano and Niklas Sule in the center. Benjamin Pavard is most likely to start at right-back, and let’s leave it at that.
So, what does that lineup look like? Here you go:
Here’s Bild’s predicted lineup. They seem to think Coman will start.
Bayern's predicted XI against Hoffenheim, according to BILD:— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 22, 2021
Neuer – Pavard, Süle, Upamecano, Hernández – Kimmich, Sabitzer – Gnabry, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski
It’s a little bit outdated because of the injury news, but we did a podcast preview on this game. Here are our talking points:
- How Bayern loanee Chris Richards stands to make an impression on the club bosses in this game.
- Tactical considerations for the lineup with Julian Nagelsmann set to miss the game.
- How the XI could look like, from the defense moving forward.
- Why it’s high time for the coach to start Jamal Musiala and give Leroy Sane some rest.
- Some final thoughts on what we want to see from the game.
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