So Bayern Munich need it all to happen this week. The club bosses fired Nagelsmann because they thought that the Champions League was in danger. Well the danger hasn't passed, and Thomas Tuchel has to figure out some way to beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City without a striker. Nothing he hasn't done before, but the circumstances feel extremely dire.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is not traveling with the team to England. The striker is battling a knee issue that already made him miss the game vs SC Freiburg on Saturday. Needless to say, this means a seismic shift in what Bayern Munich can do in the game, which we covered in-depth in our newest podcast episode. If you want a proper, detailed, and rather gloomy preview, listen to it below or on Spotify.
In short, there are no good options to replace him. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that it'll be Serge Gnabry up top in a 4-2-3-1. No Sadio Mane because ... let’s be real. Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman, and Leroy Sane are the most likely candidates to start behind Gnabry, with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka in midfield. Kimmich will need to be careful, as the referee — Spaniard Gil Manzano — is notorious for being card happy. A single yellow would rule him out for the second leg in Munich.
Alphonso Davies, Matthijs de Ligt, and Dayot Upamecano are currently guaranteed starters in defense. No coach can do without them. The question is between Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Pavard at right-back. We go over the arguments for and against each in detail in our podcast, but in short:
- Pavard is the better defender right now. City love to use the width of the pitch and therefore the Frenchman could help deny their service to Haaland down their left hand flank.
- Cancelo, meanwhile, could be critical to unlocking the City defense, but without a striker his crosses will have nothing to aim for.
- Unfortunately, neither Noussair Mazraoui or Josip Stanisic have the recent game time to be qualified to start a game this big. It's especially bitter for Stanisic, who has not seen a single start since shutting down Mbappe in the second leg vs PSG.
So how will Thomas Tuchel line up Bayern Munich vs City? Here's our best guess:
It’s not necessarily a confidence-inspiring starting XI. No striker, a midfielder a yellow away from suspension, and several attackers woefully out of form. If Bayern Munich can get a win vs Manchester City on Tuesday, then Thomas Tuchel will have truly impressed the fanbase.
What do you think of that XI? Let us know in the comments below. If any more injury or lineup news breaks, be sure to check back here for updates.
Here is how kicker thinks both teams will lineup. Nothing from Bild yet, the cowards.
Not much to report right now. All is quiet before the game. Bayern players warmed up at the hotel with no issues this morning.