It’s been a week since Bayern Munich were last in action, and bad press has hounded the club ever since. This is what we call the slump-effect, where the German newspapers start dumping all their juicy tidbits right when the team enters a slump.
In Nagelsmann’s case, the slump is more of a season-ending catastrophic downturn in form, but that’s just semantics. Last week he proved he can beat the worst team in the league. This week, he has to beat his arch-nemesis — Eintracht Frankfurt — and he has to do it without Thomas Muller.
It’s not looking good for Bayern. Thomas Muller is out with COVID-19, while Manuel Neuer (knee), Alphonso Davies (myocarditis), and Leon Goretzka (knee) are all still missing from the lineup. Corentin Tolisso is also out with a hamstring issue. Jamal Musiala is at least ready for action, as is Kingsley Coman and Lucas Hernandez. Nagelsmann may need them all if he’s to beat the Eagles, who have an excellent record against teams coached by him. If Gladbach is Bayern’s bogey team, Eintracht is Nagelsmann’s.
So, what will the lineup look like? Well, Nagelsmann categorically blamed the 4-2-3-1 for Bayern’s worst halves this season, so you can be sure that we’re not going to see it any time soon. Is the 4-2-3-1 actually responsible for the bad performances? That’s a debate for another time. For now, it’s clear that a back-three is the way the coach wants to go.
Keeping that line of thinking, let’s talk about the starting XI. Robert Lewandowski, of course, will start up top, with up to FOUR wingers starting behind him. Yep, we might see a lineup where Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, and Jamal Musiala all line up together, with Musiala taking Thomas Muller’s spot in the XI. If that seems too risky to you, tough luck. Blame the 4-2-3-1.
In midfield, Marcel Sabitzer may FINALLY get to start a game alongside Joshua Kimmich, putting the Austrian in his preferred central midfield position. Sabitzer has slowly turned his form around since the winter break, and had a good performance against Furth outside the goal conceded by Bayern (where he was the subject of an unlucky deflection). If the 27-year-old former RB Leipzig man can manage to find his feet at this stage of the season, it may offset the prolonged absence of Leon Goretzka (for a time).
The defense is a bit questionable, as Nagelsmann has four center-backs available and only three spots to put them in. Dayot Upamecano is the most likely candidate to ride the bench, as Lucas Hernandez, Niklas Sule, and Benjamin Pavard are expected to form up in a back three. Sven Ulreich, in place of Manuel Neuer, is expected to be in goal.
What does that lineup look like? Well here’s an approximation:
Here’s the full injury list. Apparently Bouna Sarr is out too? So many knee issues in this squad.
Out of tomorrow's game:— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) February 25, 2022
• Thomas Müller (Covid-19)
• Manuel Neuer (knee surgery)
• Alphonso Davies (myocarditis)
• Leon Goretzka (patellar tendon)
• Corentin Tolisso (hamstring strain)
• Bouna Sarr (knee problem)
As always, we appreciate all the support!