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Is Manchester City loanee Joao Cancelo headed for a start in Bayern Munich’s midfield?

Thomas Tuchel might just be throwing things at the wall to see what sticks at Bayern Munich these days.

FC Bayern München v TSG Hoffenheim - Bundesliga Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Is Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel planning a shock move for his midfield selection for the team’s Champions League showdown against Manchester City?

Maybe, but it is probably not what you are thinking.

Instead of Jamal Musiala dropping back to the No. 8 or Ryan Gravenberch emerging from the bench to usurp a position in the starting XI, it could be…Joao Cancelo (!?).

With Leon Goretzka potentially already in Tuchel’s doghouse, the new coach might be thinking of using Cancelo, who has been mediocre at best during his time in Bavaria so far, in the central midfield according to Abendzeitung’s Mano Bonke and Philip Kessler (as captured by @iMiaSanMia):

João Cancelo is an option to start in midfield next to Joshua Kimmich against Manchester City. Leon Goretzka is currently one of the symbols of Bayern’s poor form. Tuchel was unhappy with the midfielder against Hoffenheim and kept rebuking him.

It goes deeper than that, however. Apparently, there are doubts within the club that the combination of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka is a winning midfield moving forward:

Internally, there are growing doubts over the midfield combination of Kimmich & Goretzka. Kimmich had a better harmony with Sabitzer in the first half of the season. A ball playing midfielder who can dictate the game next to Kimmich is missing.

But what of Konrad Laimer? Well…let’s just say he might not want to get too comfortable in Munich as it seems like the club is seeking more of a ball-controlling, point guard to dictate the pace of games rather than a physical presence:

Konrad Laimer will join Bayern from Leipzig in the summer, but the Austrian will also be more of a physical than ball playing type of midfielder.

Should Cancelo get the nod, it would seem a little desperate, but it has been said that desperate times call for desperate measures.

BFW Analysis

Moves like this reek of a coach ready to detonate a roster. Shoving an ill-fitting 4-2-3-1 down everyone’s throat during a time when the personnel is not necessarily a good fit for that formation, using Serge Gnabry as a striker, ignoring Gravenberch, initially benching Thomas Müller, not recognizing Sadio Mane was a ticking time bomb after his unnecessary, over-aggressive play vs. SC Freiburg helped cost them the match, and hammering Dayot Upamecano when he was already down…those are all things that a good coach would be engaging in at this point in the season — even if he did just take over.

This was an impossible spot for Tuchel to enter into, but he is now making things look optically worse by trying to reward a player, which just a couple of weeks back refused to celebrate a massive win with his teammates because his feelings were hurt.

The grace period for Tuchel might end a bit prematurely unless some of his experiments actually start panning out.

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