The final game of the Champions League group stage is a stressful time for some teams, but for fans of Bayern Munich it’s just a formality. Even against a team with the pedigree of Inter Milan, we can put our feet up and relax, because the game is a dead rubber with nothing at stake. Top spot in the group is secured, and Julian Nagelsmann has the luxury to rotate his starting XI.
Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer are both still working individually on their recoveries, while Leroy Sane is not yet fit to feature against Inter. On the defensive front, Lucas Hernandez remains out with an adductor injury while Matthijs de Ligt will be given a rest as a precaution. The rest of the team should otherwise be available. Meanwhile for the Nerazzurri, it’s been confirmed that Romelu Lukaku will miss the game.
As part of a wider discussion on rotation and injuries, we did a preview of the Inter Milan game on this week’s edition of our podcast. Check it our below or on Spotify if you want a comprehensive idea of what Nagelsmann is doing with regard to rotation at Bayern.
In short, Mathys Tel should finally expect a start tomorrow, after being on the bench ever since the Stuttgart game. He could play in place of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who played the full 90 vs Mainz during the weekend and would benefit from the rest. Sadio Mane and Kingsley Coman could be the main candidates for the wing positions while Jamal Musiala starts centrally, but given that we’re expecting rotation Nagelsmann could choose practically any combination of attackers to go with.
In midfield, Ryan Gravenberch is confirmed to be starting. He will likely play alongside Joshua Kimmich, though there is an outside chance that the Dutchman could be moved to the attacking midfield spot to give Musiala a rest. In that case, Kimmich would be paired with Marcel Sabitzer forming a midfield three. Whatever happens, at least Goretzka will get some rest.
Finally, in defense — Alphonso Davies is very unlikely to be benched, although don’t expect him to play the full 90. Benjamin Pavard will get his wish to start at center-back in De Ligt’s absence, with Dayot Upamecano reprising his usual role. Noussair Mazraoui, as the only other right-back in the squad (Stanisic is needed to sub on for Davies at left-back) will likely start as well. With Sven Ulreich in goal, that rounds out the lineup:
Here’s what the starting XI could look like:
- Serge Gnabry in for one of the attackers.
- Choupo-Moting in for one of the attackers (probably Mane, with Tel moving to the left).
- Josip Stanisic at left-back.
Per UEFA, Noussair Mazraoui and Dayot Upamecano both risk suspensions for the Round of 16 in the Champions League if they pick up yellow cards in this game. Motivation for Nagelsmann to switch up his planned lineup? Both are starters at their respective positions, so losing them for the first leg of the knockouts would be quite devastating.