The COVID-19 world is not easy.
Now, more than any other time during the pandemic, Bayern Munich is feeling the crunch of positive tests. When factoring the numerous cases of COVID-19 that players contracted during the winter break, plus the Africa Cup of Nations, and a couple of injuries, the Bavarians are probably have a thinner roster than ever before.
In all, this is what things look like (as of now):
- COVID-19: Manuel Neuer, Dayot Upamecano, Omar Richards, Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, Lucas Hernández, Tanguy Nianzou, Corentin Tolisso
- African Cup of Nations: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Bouna Sarr
- Injuries: Leon Goretzka, Josip Stanišić
Many fans and pundits will be clamoring for Bayern Munich to push to cancel the match...and it would be hard to argue against that notion. Bayern Munich will absolutely be missing starters, key depth pieces, etc. Moreover, the options on the bench could be limited (and will definitely be inexperienced) should anyone on the squad pick up a knock during the match.
All that said, if Bayern Munich has enough players to stay above the DFL’s threshold, the Bavarians should play the match.
Sure, Borussia Mönchengladbach is one of the least ideal match-ups for Bayern Munich to face right now, but it is not as if Bayern Munich would be totally bereft of talent. As BFW staffer Teddy Son broke down, the lineup could still be pretty formidable:
- Starting XI: Ulreich — Kimmich, Pavard, Süle, Davies — Roca, Sabitzer — Gnabry, Müller, Musiala — Lewandowski
- Bench: Früchtl — Goretzka, Tillman, Stanišić, and five other Bayern II starlets
First, that lineup (if everyone remains healthy) is pretty damn good. Second, you could so a lot worse than being in a position to give a few Bayern Munich II players some varsity field time as substitutes. What better way to see how the youngsters are ready for the big time than to actually see them in the mix against a squad like Gladbach.
Selfishly, I want to see how Marcel Sabitzer does with a starting role and how he interacts with a partner in the double pivot who sits deeper like Roca. I want to see Benjamin Pavard get some time at center-back, so I know if the Frenchman can be a starting-caliber central defender if Niklas Süle leaves this summer.
I also want to see Jamal Musiala pulling a full shift on the wing — a position he excelled at last season and earlier during this campaign before he inexplicable lost his spot in the rotation.
More than anything, though, I just want to see how this particular Bayern Munich squad rallies together to square off against its bogey team. It’s not like Gladbach isn’t undergoing its own turmoil. While not hit as hard with injuries and illnesses, Die Fohlen has been incredibly inconsistent and just found out it will be losing two (or potentially three) of their top players during the summer. There are certainly distractions aplenty for Gladbach as Adi Hütter’s status as coach has even come into question.
It likely will not be pretty, but I’d rather see this game played Friday than squeezing it in later this winter or early in spring when Bayern Munich will need to be as fresh as possible.
So, yeah, (bleep) it! We’ll do it live...on Friday.