Oh great. Bayern Munich have what is effectively a must-win game against Viktoria Plzen this week in the Champions League, and half the team is injured. What should’ve been an easy outing now becomes a potentially massive hurdle to overcome.
List of absentees (that we know of so far):
- Jamal Musiala (Covid-19).
- Manuel Neuer (shoulder issues).
- Lucas Hernandez (adductor injury).
- Bouna Sarr (patellar problems).
- Serge Gnabry (knee issues).
- Matthijs de Ligt (adductor issues).
- Alphonso Davies (Bellingham).
That’s SEVEN players, including two starting center-backs and the starting left-back, plus the guy who’s carrying Bayern on his back lately (Musiala). Thankfully, Thomas Muller is back after recovering from Covid, as is Joshua Kimmich. Both of their services will be necessary if Bayern want to get past Plzen on Wednesday.
This game is SIGNIFICANT. How significant? Well to find out, check out our latest podcast episode where we analyze Nagelsmann’s seasonal struggles at Bayern and the importance of the next few games. TL;DL, Round of 16 qualification and Nagelsmann’s job could both be on the line. Listen below or on Spotify.
Let’s talk about the lineup. After his red card against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, Kingsley Coman will have the next Bundesliga game off — so it’s the perfect time for him to get a full 90 minutes against Plzen. Joining him will likely be Thomas Muller, Mathys Tel, and Leroy Sane. Sane’s presence will be especially critical given that he’s the only one in the starting attack who has any semblance of match form at the moment. Sadio Mane, meanwhile, might get some long overdue time on the bench.
In midfield, practically anyone could start, but Nagelsmann may want to give Ryan Gravenberch another chance after his decent performance against Plzen last week. Joining him might be Joshua Kimmich, both to satisfy Kimmich’s urge to start every game, and to give Goretzka and Sabitzer some rest. If not this then expect a standard Kimmich-Sabitzer pairing.
The defense is where things get tough. Without Lucas and De Ligt, Benjamin Pavard will have to move inside to the center-back postion, pairing up with Dayot Upamecano. Noussair Mazaraoui would therefore take the Frenchman’s position at left-back, while the missing Alphonso Davies would likely be backed up by Josip Stanisic. Youngster Paul Wanner, who has reportedly been groomed as a backup LB in training, is traveling with the team to Pilsen, but it’s debatable whether he would get to play after such a long time on the sidelines.
Finally, with Manuel Neuer out injured, Sven Ulreich gets another shot between the sticks. With the makeshift defense in front of him, Bayern’s backup keeper might find himself called upon more often than usual tomorrow.
So here’s what Bild predicts. So could Sadio Mane start?
Expected lineups [@BILD] pic.twitter.com/6rbPWvITg3— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 12, 2022