It’s been practically an eternity since Bayern Munich last played a proper game, but the wait is finally over. On Friday night, the Bundesliga record champions return to action against the team most likely to challenge for the title this season — RB Leipzig.
Leipzig have seen a resurgence in form since hiring Marco Rose back in September. While only 3rd place in the table, they had the 2nd best recent form going into the World Cup. With Bayern missing a ton of key players, this game will be a tough challenge for Julian Nagelsmann and his team.
Currently, Nagelsmann says that only long-term absentees are ruled out for this game. That means the following players won’t play for sure:
- Noussair Mazraoui (pericarditis)
- Lucas Hernandez ( torn ACL)
- Manuel Neuer (lower leg fracture)
- Sadio Mane (fibular tendon injury)
However Leon Goretzka reportedly still feels some mild discomfort and could be doubtful for the game. With PSG only weeks away, it’s unlikely that Nagelsmann will be taking any chances.
In his pregame press conference, the coach said that six out of eleven starting spots were already decided. We can probably guess what those are. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was explicitly confirmed to be a starter, and Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane are too valuable to leave out of the lineup at the moment.
Will Thomas Muller play? Hmmm, now that’s a good question. If you ask me, he should play every game. Louis van Gaal established that rule back in 2010 and every coach who breaks it ends up on the way out. That being said, it feels like Julian Nagelsmann may have something different planned. Maybe Serge Gnabry on the wing? Let’s see what happens. The starting XI vs Leipzig could also give us a clue to who will play vs PSG, so it’s one to keep an eye on.
In midfield, Joshua Kimmich is another player who can’t miss a game. He might be paired with Marcel Sabitzer, just to give Goretzka that extra bit of time to get 100% fit. Sabitzer lost his spot to Goretzka in the latter part of the Hinrunde, so he’ll need solid performances if he wants to win it back in this second half of the season.
Meanwhile, because of injuries, the defense practically selects itself. Alphonso Davies, Dayot Upamecano, Matthijs de Ligt, and Benjamin Pavard will form the back line, with Yann Sommer lining up between the sticks. Yes, Sommer and not Ulreich. Based on reports and Nagelsmann’s own words, Sommer is going to get his debut in a Bayern shirt less than 48 hours after signing the contract.
So what will the lineup look like? Here’s our best guess:
- Thomas Muller in for one of the attacking players.
- Leon Goretzka in for Sabitzer if fit.
- Sven Ulreich in for Yann Sommer at the keeper’s position.
Bild predicts the same lineup.
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