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BFW Crystal Ball: What Bayern Munich’s “Champagne XI” could look like with Marcel Sabitzer

How will Julian Nagelsmann line up his boys at Bayern Munich?

FC Bayern Muenchen Unveils New Signing Marcel Sabitzer Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s late transfer window addition of Marcel Sabitzer, the emergence of Jamal Musiala as the team’s best winger, and Niklas Süle’s consistently strong performances have created some very interesting choices for manager Julian Nagelsmann as he look t how to best use what is now an extremely strong squad.

We took a look at how things could work, including some views at what we (okay me!) would do, what could happen if Nagelsmann moves to a 3-4-2-1, and what we (okay me again!) think will actually happen.

BFW Outlook

It seems that Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and Kingsley Coman are all going to be given preference at wing despite the roller coaster ride they put fans through on a weekly basis.

There is no doubt about that.

However, all three have struggled mightily with their consistency and production. I’m not saying this XI is going to happen (I honestly think Gnabry and Sane will likely have to fail their way out of the XI), only that if Nagelsmann wants to get his bets XI players on the pitch for a “Champagne” game, then he might want to consider the musings of a nitwit writing for BFW.

BFW’s Champagne XI for a 4-2-3-1

You will also see that I went with the — somewhat — controversial center-back pairing of Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez over Dayot Upamecano. At this stage, I think Süle and Hernandez are closer to “finished products” and are just a bit better. Another not-so-controversial selection is Jamal Musiala starting at wing. I’ve been barking about this since last season, but Musiala is the most impactful winger on the squad. The youngster essentially captures the best qualities of the other three wingers and rolls them all into one player.

Again, this is just some dork typing for a blog, but I want the XI that gives me the best chance to win and I want those XI player working together.


What if, however, Nagelsmann pulls the chord on a new formation that fits his playing style more? Let’s take a look at what that could look like.

Nagelsmann often used a 3-4-2-1...and wouldn’t you know he has the personnel to play that way now.

BFW’s guess at how Nagelsmann would use a 3-4-2-1 Champagne XI

In this formation, a few key swaps occur:

  • Upamecano enters the fray as the third center-back and replaces Jamal Musiala. This is an unkind cut, but not one that happened lightly. In this formation, Musiala can be used as change of pace sub in a “Champagne” match.
  • Josip Stanisic comes on for Benjamin Pavard. Stanisic is largely an unproven commodity, but seems to fit the wing-back role a little better than Pavard because of his comfort in getting forward. Now, admittedly, we need to see a lot more from Stanisic before he could really be considered for a role in a potential “Champagne XI”...but there was a young, inexperienced left-back only a couple of years go, who played a key role in helping his squad win a Champions League title: Alphonso Davies. Stanisic is not as electric as Davies, but his first performances might even be better than what Davies turned in during the 2019/2020 campaign — and those were good as well!

Crazier things have happened, right?

Anyway, if you put a gun to my head (please don’t after reading this!) and made me gamble on a “Champagne XI”, here is what I’d bet Nagelsmann would do.

Bayern Munich’s Predicted Champagne XI

Boring, eh? Yeah, I cannot imagine putting XI players out there and Musiala, Süle, or Sabitzer not being included, but I’d predict that is what happens (barring injuries).