The international break is over, which means that the business end of the season can finally begin. Bayern Munich are notoriously poor after international breaks, but the club cannot afford another slow start this time. Literally the first game back is versus RB Leipzig, a team that Hansi Flick has faced twice but never beaten.
With just four points separating the two sides in the table, Bayern Munich cannot afford to drop points here. Despite most players being exhausted from their international commitments, resting anyone is also out of the question — and that’s despite a massive Champions League game in midweek. These are the game which show why Flick is paid millions. He has an almost impossible task — can he figure something out?
Let’s talk about the lineup. With Robert Lewandowski out for at least a month, Hansi Flick needs to figure out a compromise. We covered this in detail a while back, but, for tomorrow, let’s assume that he will go with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting up top with no other changes.
Thomas Muller will take up his natural position behind the striker, and the onus will be on Der Raumdeuter to pick up goals in Lewandowski’s absence. As the player with the second highest goals tally in the team, he is the only proven goal scorer left for the coach to rely on.
On the wings, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman are likely to play, simply based on the fact that Leroy Sane looked exhausted in his outing against North Macedonia. If Gnabs is also tired, then Jamal Musiala may be needed — but it’s more likely that the coach will save his wonderkid for a substitute role in the second half. Musiala was Leipzig’s bane in the home leg of this fixture during the Hinrunde, so a cameo appearance is not out of the question.
As for the midfield — unfortunately, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka will have to play the full 90 in this one, no matter how tired they may be. The duo already played over 100 minutes of grueling football against North Macedonia in midweek, and now they’ll be called upon to take on Nagelsmann’s high-octane brand of football. It’s an unfortunate situation all-round — if only international breaks didn’t happen so late in the season.
For defense, a number of key absentees means that Lucas Hernandez is likely to get a start. He will be joined by David Alaba and Niklas Sule in central defense, with Benjamin Pavard at right-back. Based on what we saw against Stuttgart, it might make a ton of sense to move Lucas to CB and Alaba to LB in Phonzie’s absence, but the coach has barely used the Frenchman as a CB this season, and it would be weird to start now.
Finally, Bayern captain Manuel Neuer will man the goal. He will be desperately hoping for a clean sheet, but knowing our defense, he will have to work for it.
Here’s how the lineup should look like:
- Leroy Sane in for Serge Gnabry.
- Thomas Muller up top as a False 9. Musiala at AM.
- Serge Gnabry up top, Coman and Sane on the wings.
Here’s what Bild thinks the lineup will be. They put Serge Gnabry up top instead of Choupo.