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Thomas Tuchel talks his unusual center-back selection for Bayern Munich’s DFB-Pokal match vs. Preußen Münster

With injuries plaguing the backline, Tuchel opted for Leon Goretzka and Noussair Mazraoui in central defense.

Preußen Münster v FC Bayern München - DFB Cup: First Round Photo by Christina Pahnke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Bayern Munich is suddenly seeing the consequences of going just a little bit light at center-back this season.

With no senior center-backs available: Kim Min-jae, Dayot Upamecano, and Matthijs de Ligt all sitting out, and top youth team option Tarek Buchmann unavailable as well, Tuchel opted for an unusual pairing: Leon Goretzka and Noussair Mazraoui.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. I hope we won’t have to try it again,” Tuchel explained after the game, as captured by @iMiaSanMia. “They played the role very well. Leon has what it takes in terms of body and pace, and he also has a good build-up play. Nous has good positional play and good headers. It worked well today, but I can do without it in the future.”

The move left Konrad Laimer at right-back and Joshua Kimmich the lone pivot in midfield, although with both center-backs so dynamic on the ball, Bayern were their typically dominant selves in possession.

Tuchel gave an injury update on the starters as well. This season’s top choice pairing of Kim and Upamecano could be back by Saturday’s clash against RB Leipzig, or so Tuchel hopes. Meanwhile, Matthijs de Ligt — injured in the last outing against VfL Bochum — will not be available until the Champions League match next Tuesday against Copenhagen at “earliest”; the following weekend’s Bundesliga tilt against SC Freiburg is more likely.

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