Since that final, the Parisians have changed their coach, and they come into the game with a number players missing due to illness and injury. However, they’re still a formidable team with some of the best attacking players in the world. If you have players like Neymar and Mbappe, there’s no way you can be underestimated — Hansi Flick knows that better than anyone. However, Bayern will be missing their main weapon in Robert Lewandowski, so what will the coach do?
Both sides come into the game with a number of injuries, but that just gives the coaches an excuse to be creative. For Hansi Flick, the main question will be dealing with the absences of Lewandowski and Gnabry.
Theoretically, Thomas Muller CAN play as a striker, but it isn’t his favored position and he’s more useful as an attacking midfielder. This means that Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is almost certainly going to start his second game in a row, playing up top against his former team.
To capitalize further on the the “ex-effect” (and also because Bayern don’t have many fit wingers left), Kingsley Coman will will start on the flanks, with Leroy Sane on the opposite end. The match will be a true test of Sane’s physicality and stamina, because he’ll be called upon to help defend against Neymar while also playing his fifth game in just two weeks. You can thank Jogi Low for that.
In midfield, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are in the same boat as Sane. However, Flick cannot afford to rest them. With PSG missing Verratti and Paredes, Mauricio Pochettino has very few options in the middle. He may well move Neymar to AM just to help his team control the game better. Games at this level are won or lost in the midfield, so the battle to control the center will be crucial.
Under such circumstances, Bayern Munich have to press their advantage as much as possible. That means going out there with
arguably the best midfield duo in the world right now. Josh and Leon are undoubtedly tired, but Hansi Flick needs them to produce another masterclass. If rest is needed, they’ll have to rest against Union. The UCL demands everything a player can give.
The backline is where Flick may have a few surprises planned — largely because it’s the only area of the pitch where Bayern have any options. David Alaba and Benjamin Pavard are all but confirmed, so it’s pointless to debate their inclusion in tomorrow’s XI. Instead, let’s talk about the more interesting question — will Lucas Hernandez play?
The "A team" in the final training was the exact same XI that started against Leipzig on Saturday [Bild]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 6, 2021
Alphonso Davies has already faced PSG before, and he did a good job under difficult circumstances in the Champions League final last year. However, the Canadian’s form hasn’t been as good this season, and he had a ton of trouble dealing with the skilled movements of Angel Di Maria in their last meeting. However, Davies offers the attacking impetus to really threaten PSG’s right, where the loss of Alessandro Florenzi leaves them vulnerable.
In contrast, Lucas is a better pure defender than the Canadian, but he also doesn’t offer the same impact going forward. Hansi Flick has always been a courageous coach, so this is the exact type of game where I can see him go with the more offensive option, just to press home the advantage. That could mean a shock inclusion of Davies in the starting XI.
In case people forget, he’s done it before. Ahead of the Champions League final, all the reports claimed that Ivan Perisic was set to start on the left. When lineups were revealed, it was Kingsley Coman instead. Hansi might try to pull the same shenanigans once again tomorrow — and if he gets it wrong, there’s another leg to correct his mistakes.
The same goes for the other defensive choice — Jerome Boateng or Niklas Sule? Both played in the final last year, with Sule giving a good account of himself after coming on for an injured Boa. Flick loves the control than an Alaba-Boateng pairing brings, but Sule’s pace might just edge this one. It’s a toss up wither way — this isn’t something you can accurately predict. Sule has more recent match practice, so I’ll give it to him.
At the very least, we won’t have any surprises at the keeper’s spot. Manuel Neuer pulled out a god-tier performance the last time Bayern faced PSG — he’d better have another one of those ready to go. Given Bayern’s defense this season, we will need it.
With all that out of the way, here’s our predicted lineup: