This is the big one! After winning the first leg at the Parc des Princes 1-0, Bayern Munich host Paris Saint-Germain at the Allianz Arena for final leg of this year’s Champions League Round of 16. Julian Nagelsmann and his men seem determined to qualify, but determination won’t stop the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Leo Messi from scoring goals. So it’ll be a battle of tactics, form, and quality on the night.
What does Nagelsmann have in store?
In terms of injuries, only Manuel Neuer and Lucas Hernandez failed to train for Bayern Munich in the buildup to the game. Benjamin Pavard is suspended on account of the red card he received in the first leg, but Noussair Mazraoui and Sadio Mane are both back and ready for selection (though very unlikely to start). Josip Stanisic apparently had some thigh issues but was still able to train, and coach assumes he will be able to start. If he doesn’t, then there’s always Joao Cancelo, who has become a controversial figure at the Sabener Strasse all of a sudden.
The lineup is set to be Nagelsmann’s new back-three concoction, which resembles a 4-2-3-1 in every single way except the role of the right-back. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Muller are set to start up top, supported by the in-form Jamal Musiala and Kingsley Coman. Leroy Sane, Sadio Mane, and Serge Gnabry will likely be used as substitutes after the hour mark.
The midfield is set with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka forming a solid partnership over recent weeks, resembling their peak back in 2020. Kimmich needs to be careful, as he’s only a single yellow card away from suspension, thereby missing a potential quarter-final should Bayern qualify. Leon Goretzka, meanwhile, has to be cognizant of his defensive duties. Nagelsmann said that the only way to stop Mbappe and Messi is to cut off their supply, so stopping PSG’s midfield will be of the utmost importance.
The defense will be under the hammer all game, so it’s imperative that the coach gets it right. Four out of five positions basically select themselves — Alphonso Davies (left-back), Matthijs de Ligt (center-back), Dayot Upamecano (center-back), and Yann Sommer (goalkeeper) all have zero competition for their starting spots. The questions begin when you look at right-back, a clear position of weakness from the first leg.
Josip Stanisic is set to be preferred over Joao Cancelo for his defensive stability. It makes sense given that PSG will have Mbappe starting from the outset in this game, but there’s plenty of concern about the Croatian’s inexperience and lack of pace at this level. He’ll need to be at the very top of his game to repay the trust his team and the coach has put in him.
Here’s what the starting XI could look like:
PSG coach Christophe Galtier spoke about his team’s injuries in the press conference.
Galtier on the personnel: "Mukiele is doing better. Hakimi will also train normally. I will make my decision after the session. Marquinhos will also train normally. We will review everything at the end of the session. But it seems all three players are available"— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 7, 2023
Here are Bild’s predicted lineups for the game.
Bayern vs PSG | Possible lineups [@BILD] pic.twitter.com/sGlfhArMsS— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 7, 2023
Interested in a more in-depth preview of the game? Then why not check out our podcast? In this latest episode, we cover the 2nd leg vs PSG, as well as other topics like the issue with Ryan Gravenberch, as well as Sane and Gnabry falling out of favor. Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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