It’s not quite Der Klassiker, but Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the season so far. Having lost to Gladbach last weekend, the Bavarians come into the game level on points with the east Berliners and also Borussia Dortmund, which means a loss could put the team as low as third place by the end of the matchday.
Already under pressure due to mediocre results 2023, Julian Nagelsmann needs a win on Sunday to shore up Bayern’s place atop the Bundesliga and keep BVB at bay.
Sadio Mane and Noussair Mazraoui have both returned to team training, but it’s still too early for them to participate in a game. Dayot Upamecano, meanwhile, is suspended due to the red card he got vs Gladbach. Choupo-Moting also had a slight neck problem, but he and Kingsley Coman should both be available for the game, albeit doubtful.
So, what kind of lineup will we see? Well, after much criticism over the week, Julian Nagelsmann announced that Thomas Muller would definitely be in the starting XI vs Union Berlin. Based on how the coach operates, we can assume that Muller will play as the striker vs Union, with Jamal Musiala behind him at attacking midfield. Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry are the likely winger candidates, with Kingsley Coman and Sadio Mane as the first options off the bench.
In midfield, a double pivot of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich seems like the most likely outcome, based on the personnel available. Ryan Gravenberch probably isn’t ready to play against a team like Union Berlin just year, and Goretzka and Kimmich have been in good form since the former returned to the lineup vs PSG.
The defense is the main source of questions. Given that Union will likely play defensively, Julian Nagelsmann may go for an overly offensive back four setup with Joao Cancelo and Alphonso Davies as wing-backs. Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs de Ligt could simply reprise their roles as center-backs in such a setup, with Yann Sommer in goal.
Of course, that’s not the only option — only one of the likely ones. Here are some potential lineups Nagelsmann could use:
Bild predicts a lineup with Thomas Muller on the wing.
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