With Bayern Munich already 4-1 up on Lazio from the first leg, most people seem to think that progressing in the Champions League is a given. Hopefully, that’s not what Hansi Flick thinks, because that’s the exact kind of mentality that gets you Remontada’d.
While Lazio are in a bit of a rut at this stage of the season, they have plenty of quality on their books. Aside from the known quantities like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile, I’m sure most Bayern fans were surprised to see a speed demon like Manuel Lazzari give Alphonso Davies some serious trouble on the wing in the first leg. A team like that cannot be underestimated, even with a 4-1 lead.
The news isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either. Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman trained individually, so they’re doubtful for the game. Meanwhile, Manuel Neuer did not train with the team, but he isn’t injured — the Bayern captain may be rested against Lazio. Apparently he has a mild cold. This could give Alex Nubel a chance to finally start in the Champions League for his new club — if the coach so chooses.
So how will the team line up? Well, expect Robert Lewandowski to start up top, with Thomas Muller behind him. Jamal Musiala made a name for himself in this fixture a couple weeks back, but if Neuer is indeed rested, then Bayern will need its vice-captain to don the armband for the UCL game tomorrow.
Leroy Sane was rested against Bremen, so he’s likely to start this fixture, most likely on the right side as usual. Serge Gnabry is the most likely candidate for the opposing flank, though Musiala could start there if Flick decides to give the youngster a run. It’s not as much of a risk to play the 18-year-old if Thomas Muller is next to him to give him instruction and support.
In midfield, no changes are expected. Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka have their spots on lockdown, and with Corentin Tolisso still injured, there’s really no one who can come in and give these two a proper rest. Marc Roca still has yet to adjust to Hansi’s pressing game, while Javi Martinez is maybe a bit too old and slow to be a pivot in this system.
Meanwhile, the defense will probably go back to normal, with David Alaba coming in for Lucas Hernandez at center-back. Alphonso Davies will probably reprise his role at left-back, with Benjamin Pavard maybe starting at right-back. Jerome Boateng is likely to round out the defense — a spitting image of the one that won the treble last season.
Meanwhile, with Neuer ruled out, Alexander Nübel gets a chance to start. Let’s hope he delivers. Here’s our predicted lineup:
- Jamal Musiala instead of Serge Gnabry on the wing.
- Niklas Sule instead of Benjamin Pavard at RB.
- Lucas Hernandez instead of Alphonso Davies at LB.
Immobile may be on the bench for Lazio. He apparently has some "physical problems" as per Sky Sports.
Given that he's their top scorer, it's a huge loss.