With qualification to the next round of the Champions League now secure, Bayern Munich move onto working toward a historic 10th consecutive Bundesliga title. While Borussia Dortmund do not seem like they’re putting up much of a fight, every point is still critical until the Meisterschale is mathematically secure. To that end, this game against Hoffenheim comes at a critical time.
Julian Nagelsmann needs to prove that the win over Salzburg wasn’t a fluke, that his team can produce bombastic performances week-in, week-out. Beating Hoffenheim is the kind of thing that will go unnoticed by the wider footballing media, but Bayern fans will certainly take heart if the club shows real signs of exiting its February slump. So what does the coach have in store?
Only three players are guaranteed out this time — Corentin Tolisso, Alphonso Davies, and Leon Goretzka. Apart from that, this is the fittest squad Nagelsmann has had in months. Lucas Hernandez’s return from suspension is a huge boost for the team, as he was sorely missed against Leverkusen. Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman were both subbed off with muscular discomfort in midweek, but the duo trained well and should be ready to play.
So, the lineup. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller are the first names on the team sheet, and why wouldn’t they be? Would you argue with the FIVE goals they scored between them against Salzburg? Hopefully Nagelsmann continues the trend of keeping them involved in the play and keeping the wingers from taking mindless shots. Speaking of which, expect all three of Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, and Leroy Sane to feature. Yes, that means the coveted Broccoli formation is set to make another appearance (with some changes!).
In midfield, Jamal Musiala was the recipient of much praise from the coach for his recent performances, so expect him to continue in his ball-progressor role next to Joshua Kimmich. Musiala is also being observed by Hansi Flick as a future candidate for the German national team midfield, possibly as a successor to the now-retired Toni Kroos. Again, Musiala is being asked to step into some big shoes, but he has the talent to do it. He’ll have to be mindful of mistakes though, there were a few big ones against Salzburg.
The defense might as well not exist at times, but the players there still count for the starting XI. Lucas Hernandez is set to take up his usual spot on the left, with Niklas Sule being the middle center-back and Benjamin Pavard occupying the right. Manuel Neuer returns to the Bundesliga for the first time since his injury, and not a moment too soon. He’s vital to this team’s cohesion.
So here’s what that starting XI should look like:
(I changed the player positions around because people complained the last time.)
Bild predicts a back four this time.
Bayern's predicted XI against Hoffenheim, according to BILD:— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 11, 2022
Neuer – Pavard, Upamecano, Süle, Hernández – Kimmich, Musiala – Coman, Müller, Sané – Lewandowski
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