Julian Nagelsmann is a man under pressure right now. Bayern Munich have been on a torrid run of form recently, failing to win three of their last five games. While slip ups can be tolerated in the Bundesliga (especially when you’re eight points clear at the top), the Champions League is a another matter entirely. Matthias Jaissle gave Julian Nagelsmann a run for his money back in Austria, and the latter will need to shape up quickly if his side is to progress to the quarter finals.
GOOD NEWS: Barring any last minute surprises, Manuel Neuer is back and fit to start in goal tomorrow. While Alphonso Davies (myocarditis) and Leon Goretzka (knee) still remain sidelined, the return of the sweeper keeper will surely put a lift in this beleaguered Bayern Munich setup. Corentin Tolisso is also out with a knee issue, while Lucas Hernandez is set to return to the XI (given that he’s not suspended in the UCL).
So, the lineup. Per reports, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Kingsley Coman are the three “untouchable” players in the attack — they’re going to start no matter what. In his press conference, Nagelsmann also mentioned that he’s counting on Leroy Sane to play, so expect him to be in the starting XI as well. That only leaves a question mark over Serge Gnabry. Bayern’s #7 has not been having a great season so far, and Nagelsmann seems to have ditched the weird back-three formation that was keeping him as a permanent starter. Judging by how things have gone in the last few weeks, we’ll assume that Gnabry will not start tomorrow.
In midfield, Jamal Musiala will probably drop to the bench after the difficult game he had against Bayer Leverkusen. While he might one day blossom into a great holding midfielder, it’s probably a little too early for him to test his skills in the Champions League. He’s also much better off as additional firepower from the bench.
Marcel Sabitzer is currently the best candidate to start alongside Joshua Kimmich in the pivot. Is there any chance that [REDACTED] could start instead? No, and stop asking about him.
Finally, the defense. Nagelsmann hasn’t used a back-three in the last couple of games, so hopefully that the beast has finally been vanquished. In that vein, expect Lucas Hernandez to come in for Omar Richards at left-back, with the rest of the defenders reprising their roles from Saturday — yes, even Upamecano. The defense has been nothing short of woeful since the winter break, and they need to get it together. The mistakes are mostly just individual errors at this point, and that can’t keep happening at this level.
At least Neuer’s return will give the center-backs some breathing room. Salzburg will probably keep him busy tomorrow. Here’s what the lineup might look like:
- Jamal Musiala in for Marcel Sabitzer in midfield. I said he wouldn’t start, but he still could.
- Omar Richards in for Dayot Upamecano, Lucas moves to center back.
- Serge Gnabry in for Dayot Upamecano, Bayern uses a back-three.
Bild seems to think Musiala is still set to start. Otherwise, even they predict a back-three.
Bayern vs Salzburg | Possible lineups [Bild] pic.twitter.com/0vDyHQb80S— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 7, 2022
Want a more in-depth preview of the game? Check out our podcast! We talked about Bayern Munich’s issues in offense, tactical and mentality problems, the consequences for not winning, and so much more. Listen to it below or at this link.
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