Ahead of their first FIFA Club World Cup in over seven years, thing have not gotten off to an auspicious start for Bayern Munich. First up, the team was forced into a nine-hour delay at Berlin airport before being allowed to fly to Qatar, and now it turns out that two key players didn’t even travel with the team.
Per the official teamsheet released by the club, Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez were not on the plane that flew from Germany to Qatar this Saturday. This means that both of them are set to miss Bayern’s semi final clash against African champions Al Ahly on Tuesday.
Losing Goretzka is an especially big blow to Flick, who has no real cover at the position. Neither Corentin Tolisso or Marc Roca seem to be up to the coach’s standards, so we may see another instance of a 4-1-4-1 with Joshua Kimmich as the lone pivot.
There’s no word on whether the two of them could fly to Qatar at a later date if they test negative in time. If Bayern beat Al Ahly and advance to the final, Leon and Javi would certainly come in handy for the game against either Palmeiras or Tigres. However, given that countries are trying to keep international travel under wraps until global vaccination improve, this might not be possible.
At the moment, the best we can hope for is the two players have a speedy recovery, and are back to full fitness before Bayern Munich face Lazio in the Champions League this month. Otherwise, things could get very difficult very quickly.