With the international break finally over, Bayern Munich emerge with a squad that is battered and bruised. Numerous players suffered injuries over the course of the international games, and almost everyone is tired from the fixture congestion. Still, the schedule won’t let up, as Julian Nagelsmann prepares to face one of the most important fixtures of any calendar year.
RB Leipzig haven’t started the season so hot. New coach Jesse Marsch has to deal with numerous key departures, including the loss of his entire starting defense. Still, they have plenty of talent and a coach who drove Hansi Flick’s side to the brink when he was in charge of RB Salzburg. With most of Bayern’s players fatigued from international duty, this could end up being a very close game.
It’s mixed right now. Nagelsmann confirmed that Thomas Muller and Alphonso Davies were doing well and would be fit to start, while Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso would miss this game. The coach also confirmed that there will be extra regeneration measures for the German international players who returned late due to their flight being delayed. All in all, Bayern will be going into this game with barely one full training session of prep time. Not ideal.
Let’s talk about the lineup. Barring any surprises, you’ll see Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller up top, but don’t expect them both to play the full 90. There are three candidates to start on the wings — Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry, and Leroy Sane. Gnabry is the man in form right now, so he’s likely to start on the right. This leaves either Musiala or Sane for the remaining winger spot, and whoever starts might be rested against Barcelona in midweek.
JN on Gnabry: "He has weaknesses when he has too much time to think. He has everything to confirm his performances before and during the international break. I see no reason why he should do less than what he did in the last few weeks."— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 10, 2021
Given how much Sane played in the international break, Musiala would be my pick if I were Nagelsmann. The youngster is probably much more fresh than his senior counterpart, and he has a pretty good record against Leipzig, which Nagelsmann himself can probably attest to. However, it’s pretty much a guess at this point — the coach will make the decision based on who looks good in training, which we don’t have access to.
In midfield, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are the favorites to start, although the coach hinted at maybe debuting Marcel Sabitzer against his old club. However, given that the Austrian has barely been here for a week, and was injured not too long ago, it’s more likely that he will be kept as a reserve option on the bench. Marc Roca could make a rare appearance too, if Nagelsmann decides to give the Spaniard a substitute cameo.
The defense is a weird one, simply because there are a lot of options here compared to the rest of the lineup. Alphonso Davies is the only guaranteed starter at the moment, set to play at left-back. With both Lucas Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano back to fitness and Niklas Sule only just returning from an international break where he started every game, it might be time for Nagelsmann to experiment with a new backline. However, maybe it’s too early for Lucas, in which case Tanguy Nianzou could start next to Upamecano as well.
At right-back, it’s a battle between Benjamin Pavard and Josip Stanisic. If Pavard is truly fit, the Frenchman’s seniority may give him the nod — but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stanisic make the lineup either. His performances have been really impressive this season.
Finally, we have Manuel Neuer, who will donning the armband and the keeper’s gloves. Let’s hope the defenders help him keep a clean sheet. If you’re wondering what the above wall of text looks like in an image, see below:
Bild seems to agree with me on the lineup, although they think Sane will start over Musiala.
Bayern's predicted XI against Leipzig, according to BILD:— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 10, 2021
Neuer – Pavard, Upamecano, Hernández, Davies – Kimmich, Goretzka – Gnabry, Müller, Sané – Lewandowski
Don’t forget, we also did a podcast on this game! Jake and Schnitzel discuss what we might see versus Leipzig, including a full preview of the game:
Thanks for listening!