It’s the third game of preseason, and Julian Nagelsmann has yet to win a single game in charge of Bayern Munich. To fair to the coach, he doesn’t exactly have his A-team available. The game against Borussia Monchengladbach will be more of the same, given that half the first teamers only just returned to training, and a few are still left to arrive.
Still, this game is a good chance for the coach to evaluate himself against Bayern’s classic bogey team, who just happen to be the Bavarians’ opponents in the Bundesliga opener. What will Julian Nagelsmann have in store?
News is decidedly mixed, for the moment. Corentin Tolisso has just tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he will miss basically the rest of the preseason while in quarantine. Meanwhile, guys like Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, and several other players came back to training yesterday, but they’re hardly ready to play a game of football this early in their preparation.
Let’s talk about the potential lineup. There really aren’t that many options, but assuming Choupo-Moting, Zirkzee, and Armindo Sieb start up top once again, we may see another reprise of the 3-4-3 formation. Omar Richards may well be put back at wingback to see how he deals with a Bundesliga level opponent like Gladbach, while Buona Sarr will be tasked with replicating his good performance against Ajax on the right.
Torben Rhein and Michael Cuisance are the likely candidates for the middle of the park, given that there’s still some time until Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka return from vacation.
In defense, a back three of Josip Stanisic, Dayot Upamecano, and Tanguy Nianzou could be Nagelsmann’s go-to. If Chris Richards is deemed fit enough to play though, he may be preferred over the 21-year-old Stanisic. The American still needs to be evaluated by the coach before his future is decided — Hoffenheim are still waiting in the wings with a generous loan offer.
With Sven Ulreich in goal, Bayern will be fielding a lineup that’s far from full strength. However, if the youngsters play with the same energy and guile they showed against AJax, there’s no reason that Nagelsmann couldn’t achieve his first ever win in charge of Bayern Munich.
Here’s what the lineup could look like tomorrow:
- Chris Richards in for any of the center-backs.
- Christopher Scott in for either Sarr (at RWB) or Zirkzee (Choupo moving to striker).
- Serge Gnabry in at winger, since he did return early from vacation. He could be a sub or play on either side.
- Taylor Booth in for Michael Cuisance (if the former is fit).
- A 4-3-3 where none of the above combinations of players are used. Come on, it’s preseason. This stuff is impossible to predict.