After a close game against Hertha Berlin followed by a hefty travel, Bayern Munich are finally in Qatar and prepping to face African champions Al Ahly in the FIFA Club World Cup. Hansi Flick and the players are adamant that they want to win the whole thing and cap off an amazing season. However, these are some of the best teams in the world, and they’re arguably even more motivated than Bayern are. So, with some key players missing, how will the team fare?
Let’s leave the injury news aside for now and dive straight into the lineup. Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty against Hertha Berlin on Friday, so he’s probably itching to score right now. This will be his first CWC, so you can bet that he’s motivated to continue his scoring competition in a brand new competition.
Joining him up top will be Thomas Muller, one of the few players on the squad to have won this competition before. He barely played in the competition the last time Bayern were in it, so it’s arguably a new experience for him too.
Assuming that Hansi Flick opts for another 4-1-4-1 like he did against Berlin, then all three of Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane, and Serge Gnabry could see playing time. The trio will line up with Gnabry being the most centrally located winger, working alongside Muller as a third striking option. Realistically, you can expect all five attackers to regularly interchange positions, keeping the Egyptian giants on their toes.
If the 4-1-4-1 does happen, then Joshua Kimmich will once again be the lone man in midfield. Al Ahly are said to be a pretty attacking side, so you’d hope that Flick will avoid this — but without Leon Goretzka, he doesn’t have many options. Marc Roca, who would be best suited for the role, isn’t considered ready yet, and Corentin Tolisso hasn’t been in form for a long time. Knowing Flick, he’s going to attack as much as he can get away with, which might mean that Bayern opt for another 4-1-4-1.
That just leaves the defense. I think it’s pretty obvious that Flick will put David Alaba at center-back, and leave Lucas Hernandez on the bench for Alphonso Davies. It’s basically a law at this point. Joining Alaba might be Niklas Sule, who had a decent outing against Hertha. However, Jerome Boateng is just as (if not more) likely to start. Benjamin Pavard will be the one starting at right-back.
Capping off the side is goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer, another player to have won this competition before. If our defense keeps performing like it has been, and the Egyptians see fit to attack like their reputations suggest, then he’s probably in for a busy night (as usual).
Without further ado, here’s how Bayern might line up against Al Ahly:
- Jamal Musiala in for any of the three wingers. He’d play AM alongside Muller.
- Jerome Boateng in for Niklas Sule.
- Jerome Boateng in for Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Sule moves to RB.
- Marc Roca or Corentin Tolisso in midfield.
- Lucas Hernandez in for Alphonso Davies at LB.
Bild also thinks we'll have a 4-1-4-1.