After being eliminated from the Champions League, Bayern Munich need to see out the rest of the season. Unfortunately for the Bavarians, an injury crisis casts a shadow over proceedings, with Hansi Flick missing most of his key players for the trip to the Volkswagen Arena.
Wolfsburg, meanwhile, have been flying under the radar despite a really good season. They sit third in the table with 54 points, and have the second best defense in the league. They could cause Bayern some serious problems on Saturday.
The extent of Bayern’s injury crisis can only be appreciated when you look at the whole list of absentees. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Robert Lewandowski (knee)
Lucas Hernandez (abdominal pain)
- Niklas Sule (muscle injury)
- Douglas Costa (foot fracture)
- Corentin Tolisso (thigh injury)
- Leon Goretzka (muscle injury)
- Marc Roca (bruised knee)
At least Jerome Boateng and Alphonso Davies have returned from suspension, which lets Flick field something resembling a defense. Serge Gnabry’s status is unknown — we’re not sure if he’s tested negative for COVID-19 yet.
Hansi Flick will need to get extremely creative with the lineup this week. However, that won’t exactly help when so many of the starters have played a huge number of minutes between them. Bild, for example, predicts this lineup:
Bayern's predicted XI against Wolfsburg, according to BILD:— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 16, 2021
Neuer – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Martinez – Sané, Müller, Coman – Choupo-Moting
That’s almost the same XI that started against PSG in midweek, with Javi coming in for Lucas. Thomas Muller, Choupo-Moting, and Joshua Kimmich all need rest, but they’re basically the only senior players left at their positions and Flick HAS to play them if he wants three points.
Musiala maybe could come in for one of the wingers, while Serge Gnabry is an option from the bench (if he’s fit, which he probably isn’t). The defense consists of every fit defender at the moment — there are no other options.
To be honest, it’s pointless to predict a lineup this week, since Flick’s options are so limited. Barring a surprise inclusion of Tiago Dantas in midfield or Jamal Musiala on the wing, Bild’s XI is probably spot on. Let’s hope that it’s enough to get the points in Wolfsburg — that 5 point cushion over 2nd place is looking awfully vulnerable right now.
Lucas Hernandez managed to take part in training despite his bruised ribs. He could be an option to start tomorrow. What a fighter.