Those who followed the FIFA 2022 Men’s World Cup from a Bayern Munich perspective may have noticed a curious thing about Morocco’s wonderful run to the third-place game. Bayern right-back Noussair Mazraoui was entrenched as the starter on the left.
This is nothing new for the 24-year-old Mazraoui, who now has twenty caps for his senior national team since 2018. But it does add an intriguing dimension to Bayern’s injury picture in defense in the wake of center-back/left-back Lucas Hernández’s season-ending ACL tear sustained while on France duty. It wasn’t really on our radar back when we looked at how Bayern would need to deal with Alphonso Davies’ injury towards the tail end of the Hinrunde, for example.
“What happened to Lucas is tragic. I’m very sorry for him,” said Bayern sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžic (via @iMiaSanMia). “Nous did a very good job at left-back during the World Cup. That gives Julian Nagelsmann another option. But his main position is right-back.”
Mazraoui was one of Morocco’s key players in the tournament and fought his way through injuries himself. Playing on the left was only natural with Achraf Hakimi of PSG (formerly of Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid) on the right flank — although he wouldn’t likely have someone quite as attacking opposite him on the right at Bayern.
Still, if Alphonso Davies has to miss games, Mazraoui would be an interesting choice of fill-in. Davies has already had a somewhat more inverting role this season than last under Julian Nagelsmann, and both Benjamin Pavard and Josip Stanišić are comfortable at right-back or center-back — where, in the long run of games to go this season, they should be needed.