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Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin: Lineups, team news, a surprise pick in defense, and more! (Updated)

Only 35,000 fans will be attending this one, far fewer than we hoped for.

FC Bayern München - Training Session Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images

With all the fuss over the Champions League draw today, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that there’s actually a game coming up. Union Berlin have not been in good form since the winter break, but with Bayern Munich seemingly dropping points every week now, this could be their chance to grab a surprise victory over a wounded giant. Hopefully, Nagelsmann doesn’t let that happen.

Team news

So in terms of injuries, there’s good news and bad news. Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso are both back in team training, as are Robert Lewandowski and Choupo-Moting. Meanwhile, Manuel Neuer is not actually injured despite cutting training short on Thursday. Alphonso Davies has only managed individual training so far, so he’s still out — Nageslmann says he could be back for the second leg against Villarreal if things go well. The big news this week is the fact that both Niklas Sule (hamstring) and Benjamin Pavard (Covid) are out, which will necessitate a reshuffling of the backline.

So in terms of the lineup, we got some help this week — both Florian Plettenberg and Bild are reporting that Bayern Munich will line up with Tanguy Nianzou in the backline, specifically a back-three. That XI could look something like this:

So we have all the forwards in more or less their usual position — Thomas Muller behind Robert Lewandowski, with Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry in the pseudo wingback role they’ve become accustomed to under Nagelsmann.

Jamal Musiala is still more likely to start this weekend, simply because the coach wants to be cautious with Leon Goretzka and take time to ease him back into the side. Joshua Kimmich lines up as the other holding midfielder while Leroy Sane takes his place as the wide #10 operating slightly to the left.

The defense is interesting, because it’s the first time we’re expected to see Tanguy Nianzou since his start against Dynamo Kyiv all the way back in November. He will likely play on the right side of the backline with Dayot Upamecano holding things down centrally and taking over Niklas Sule’s ball progression duties. Lucas Hernandez meanwhile slots in at left center-back, hopefully adding stability to an otherwise untested back line. If not, there’s always Manuel Neuer.

With Borussia Dortmund once again breathing down their necks, Bayern Munich cannot afford any more slip ups. Let’s hope the boys get it done tomorrow and head into the break on a high.


Update

Uh ... uhhhhh ... here’s Union’s injury list:


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