With the bitter taste of disappointment still lingering from Tuesday’s Pokal elimination, Bayern Munich travel to the Europa Park Stadion to take on SC Freiburg on their home turf. Thomas Tuchel is under pressure to show a reaction from his squad — not just because of the previous loss, but because the next game is against Manchester City in the Champions League, which could determine the course of Bayern Munich’s season.
Unfortunately, the odds seem stacked against him.
Confirmed in the press conference — Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is out with a knee problem. Not only will he miss the Saturday game, he’s a doubt for next Tuesday as well. His only backup, 17-year-old Mathys Tel, is still working on his comeback from an injury. Dayot Upamecano is suspended for yellow card accumulation. Losing your striker and striker backup is bad enough, but one of your main defenders as well? Freiburg must be licking their lips, because Bayern Munich will be far from their best.
It’s up to Tuchel to find some way to bring home all three points. With the league table the way it is, he can’t afford anything else. Thomas Muller will likely start up top, paired with either Serge Gnabry or Sadio Mane at striker. Let’s assume it’ll be Gnabry, since Mane has been in woeful form lately — though its really just a tossup between the two right now.
Jamal Musiala may come in for Leroy Sane on the wing, with Kingsley Coman starting on the other flank. This is entirely based on how Tuchel handled the rotation in midweek — Coman was subbed off early, possibly to save him for this game. Musiala, meanwhile, needs to make amends for the unfortunate penalty he conceded in the dying minutes of the last Freiburg game. Tuchel says he trained well over the week.
The midfield is going to remain unchanged, because, let’s face it, there are no alternatives. Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich will need to start every big game from now on. Why did Bayern let go of Sabitzer again? What happens if either of the aforementioned duo get injured? Questions for later, I suppose.
In defense, let’s be blunt. No Joao Cancelo, please. Yes, he’s talented. But Noussair Mazraoui is finally fit and much of the Bayern fanbase would prefer a right-back who can actually defend. On the opposite side, Alphonso Davies must return to the lineup. His absence was sorely felt in Pokal. Hopefully, the decision to rest him pays off in the league and Champions League.
Benjamin Pavard will be moved to his preferred center-back position, next to Matthijs de Ligt — one of the few players to come out of the last Freiburg game with his reputation intact. Yann Sommer will take his usual place between the sticks, looking a smaller figure than Manuel Neuer both literally and metaphorically.
Here’s what a lineup could look like:
Here are TZ’s predicted lineups. They also seem to think Gnabry will start.
Freiburg vs Bayern | Possible lineups [@tzmuenchen] pic.twitter.com/gPCz5JC6ir— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 7, 2023
Interested in a more in-depth preview of the game? Then check out our Weekend Warm-up podcast! In this episode, Chuck tackles the aftermath of the last Freiburg game, the bad optics of starting Joao Cancelo, and more! Listen to it below or on Spotify.
As always, we appreciate all the support.