After finally getting their hands on the trophy last year, Bayern Munich face yet another early elimination in the Champions League. Ironically, it’s Paris Saint-Germain — the team they beat in last year’s final — who are the ones threatening the Bavarians with a humiliating early exit.
Mauricio Pochettino will be feeling pretty good about his chances in the tie, given that Bayern graciously handed his team a 3-2 win away from home. With Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes, and Alessandro Florenzi all set to return to the lineup, the Parisians will be fielding a much stronger XI than the one that got them the win in Munich.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Bayern.
With so many players missing, Hansi Flick is limited in which players he can choose to start. In his press conference, the coach likened it to solving a puzzle. The first few pieces are easy to guess — Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Muller will start up top.
The duo did score in the first leg, but the lack of Robert Lewandowski was apparent in Bayern’s play. Both of them will need to be more clinical if the Bavarians are to go through. However, that’s only one part of the equation — a lack of attacking contributions from the wings played a key role in the loss during the first leg.
While most of the fanbase will be clamoring to see Jamal Musiala start, Flick will probably go with Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman on the wings once again. The pair will need to improve massively on their current form if they are to make a dent in PSG’s backline.
In midfield, with Leon Goretzka almost certainly out, David Alaba will likely be moved up from central defense to partner with Joshua Kimmich. Pochettino will likely see that as a massive weakness in the Bayern XI, and with Verratti returning to the lineup, might choose to field a more aggressive XI to press home his advantage. Paris have nothing to lose from a little bit of experimentation, since they have the lead in this tie — Bayern need two unanswered goals to go through.
And the reason why getting two unanswered goals is so difficult is because of Bayern’s defense. Lucas Hernandez has been doubtful all week, but he will apparently be able to start tomorrow. Meanwhile, Alphonso Davies, who really should’ve started in the first leg, will take his usual position at left-back. Jerome Boateng and Benjamin Pavard round out the XI, which will need to deal with the likes of Neymar and Mbappe on their home turf.
So what will Bayern’s lineup look like tomorrow? Here’s our best guess:
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