With code red finally dialed down to code orange, Bayern Munich have some breathing room again. While FC Barcelona and Inter Milan duke it out in their end of the group, Julian Nagelsmann can focus on rotation and rejuvenation against Viktoria Plzen in the early Champions League kickoff on Tuesday. Two more wins could see qualification to the Round of 16 secured, which would be invaluable in this fixture-congested World Cup year.
Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich join the absentee list due to Covid-19, while Kingsley Coman is back in training but not yet fit to start. Lucas Hernandez (hamstring) and Bouna Sarr (patella) are both confirmed to miss the game due to injury. Given that Plzen have zero points from two games so far in the CL, it’s likely that Nagelsmann will choose to rotate.
Serge Gnabry is likely to return to the starting XI after losing his spot a few weeks back. Bayern’s #7 is struggling to find form despite a solid start to the season, so he’ll need a good showing vs Plzen if he wants to convince the coach to give him more chances in the XI.
It’s an open question whether Mathys Tel will get a chance in the lineup or not. The 17-year-old has scored in every game he’s started so far, and a start seems long overdue. With Bayern set to face Borussia Dortmund in midweek, this would be a good chance for Nagelsmann to rest one of his starters and give Tel some much needed game time. But who do you bench? Between the trio of Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, and Sadio Mane, it would seem that Mane’s role would be the most easily replaced by Tel, but it’s hard to say if the coach agrees. For now, let’s assume that he does.
In midfield, Ryan Gravenberch could finally get a start, possibly alongside Leon Goretzka at the #6 position. Nagelsmann mentioned in his presser that he prefers Goretzka as a #8, so Gravenberch would have to take over Joshua Kimmich’s duties in defensive midfield. Let’s hope we actually see the Dutchman in action against Plzen, because it’s been a long time since Nagelsmann gave him a shot at the lineup.
Defensively, expect very few changes. Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano are set to continue their pairing at center-back, while the coach said that Alphonso Davies has the stamina to continue playing at left-back for the game. Noussair Mazraoui could come in for Benjamin Pavard at right-back however, which is the only chance we expect in the back line. Manuel Neuer, as usual, will play in goal.
Here’s what the XI should look like:
- Mathys Tel benched for one of the other attackers (Mane, Musiala, or Sane).
- Marcel Sabitzer in for Ryan Gravenberch in midfield.
- Josip Stanisic in for Alphonso Davies at left-back.
- Benjamin Pavard in for Noussair Mazraoui at right-back.
- Sven Ulreich in goal (to give Neuer some rest).
Here are Bild’s projected lineups:
Bayern vs Plzeň | Possible lineups [@BILD] pic.twitter.com/PMdhktFOMM— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 3, 2022
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