With the international break officially over, Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga action with a brand new coach and the entire season on the line. Der Klassiker is not always a title-decider, but this time it almost certainly will be.
Borussia Dortmund come into the game a single point clear at the top of the table, an almost unthinkable position during the last ten years of Bayern dominance. With the chance to finally unseat the Bavarians from their throne, Edin Terzic and his men will be raring to finally come away from the Allianz Arena with a win.
Thomas Tuchel’s first job as Bayern coach will be to stop them.
According to the coach, only Mathys Tel (adductor) will join Lucas Hernandez (ACL) and Manuel Neuer (poor judgement) on the injury list for this game. Jamal Musiala has recovered from his hamstring issue and took part in full team training on Friday, while Leon Goretzka is also available despite his injury scare vs Belgium during the week.
In terms of the lineup, Tuchel was conspicuously silent on whether he would opt for a back three or a back four. Since this is his very first game, there’s no telling what formation he could use.
Here are some potentially viable options:
- Option 1: A “traditional” 4-2-3-1 with Thomas Muller playing behind the striker. This is a setup that is familiar to the players, given that Bayern Munich have seen so much success with it over the years. Noussair Mazraoui and Alphonso Davies would be the best fullbacks for this setup.
- Option 2: A Nagelsmann-esque back three with one of the wingers as a wingback on the right, or Joao Cancelo (who practically plays as a winger anyway).
- Option 3: A 3-4-3 setup with two wingers and no attacking midfielder. This would mean benching Thomas Muller, which is an ill-advised move.
Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, and Yann Sommer are the only ones absolutely guaranteed to start no matter what. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Alphonso Davies are also extremely likely to be in the XI, but the former has been out for a long time with injury while the latter returned late from the international break. The same goes for the Germans in the team.
This game is a bit of an enigma, making it extremely difficult to predict. People bring up the last time that Bayern hired a new coach right before a Klassiker, when Hansi Flick crushed BVB en-route to a treble. However even Hansi had a quick tune-up game vs Olympiacos first, he didn’t start his coaching career by having to beat the second-best team in Germany.
Tuchel has it all to do. And he will be judged harshly if he can’t do it.
Here’s what Bild thinks the lineup will be.
Bayern's predicted XI against Dortmund, according to @BILD:— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 31, 2023
Sommer - Pavard, Upamecano, de Ligt - Coman, Kimmich, Goretzka, Davies - Müller, Sané - Choupo-Moting
Meanwhile there was a closed doors tactics session today. What is Tommy T cooking?
The team completed a tactical session behind closed doors this morning ahead of tonight's game [ @BILD] pic.twitter.com/2yQkU717Yt— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 1, 2023
Interested in a more in-depth discussion of the game? Then look no further than our preview podcast! Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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