In the midst of all this excitement over the Champions League draw, some of you may have forgotten that Bayern Munich face VfB Stuttgart tomorrow at the Allianz Arena. With an international break coming up, followed by tough games against Leipzig and PSG, Hansi Flick will want to take all three points to give his team some breathing room ahead of the final stretch of the season.
The question is, can he do it?
There’s good news and bad news. Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman are back in training, while Joshua Kimmich has a cold and is a doubt for the game. With Corentin Tolisso basically out for the rest of the season with a thigh injury, this makes Bayern dangerously thin in midfield. Hansi Flick has not yet mentioned how he might make up for a potential Kimmich absence — in his press conference, the coach seemed hopeful that Josh could still make it in time for the game.
So about the lineup — we know how this goes. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller start up top, likely flanked by Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane. Serge Gnabry is another option too, he could come in for either Sane or Coman. No news on whether Douglas Costa is fit to play again, but he probably wouldn’t start regardless. Jamal Musiala is the first choice candidate from the bench.
In midfield, Leon Goretzka may have to partner up with David Alaba if Joshua Kimmich doesn’t make it to the game. Hansi Flick has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t rate Marc Roca in this setup, and even used Alaba ahead of him in the Club World Cup final when Goretzka was unavailable. For Alaba’s part, he did manage to get a sweet assist for Choupo-Moting during the dying minutes of the Lazio game, and he was playing in midfield at the time. If we can get more of the same from him, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
Meanwhile, if Alaba plays in midfield, Lucas Hernandez can come in at center-back, putting Alphonso Davies at left-back. Jerome Boateng was subbed early for Niklas Sule in the Lazio game and we don’t know why — if the player is carrying some kind of injury, then Hansi may prefer to go with Sule at CB next to Lucas, with Benjamin Pavard at right-back. This hodgepodge of a defense will be tasked with shielding Manuel Neuer’s goal. Personally, I doubt the Bayern captain expects anything from his defense at this point.
So anyway, here’s what the lineup could look like tomorrow: