Bayern Munich went into the match against Borussia Monchengladbach missing some key players, with Dayot Upamecano, Joshua Kimmich, Konrad Laimer, and Kingsley Coman all having picked up injuries in recent weeks.
Add to this the long-term absence of Serge Gnabry, and Kim Min-jae being unavailable due to his commitments with South Korea in the Asian Cup, and it’s a total of seven first-team regulars missing.
After coming away with a 3-1 win and an excellent performance to boot, one would be excused for thinking Bayern was at full strength against Gladbach. Aleksandar Pavlović continues to emerge as one of the best players at the club, Eric Dier showed just how good he is at switching the play, and Noussair Mazraoui proved his value to the squad by coming back and playing a great game.
Tuchel talked over his decisions in team selection against Gladbach, as captured by German media outlet Tz. Explaining the choice to start Mazraoui at right-back over newcomer Sacha Boey, the manager had this to say, “Nous came back [from the African Cup of Nations] in good spirits and has no injuries. He had Corona at the Africa Cup. He is better at the processes and knows where we want to protect and attack. He can play between 60 and 70 minutes. It might be ideal for Boey to not start right away, see all the action and then finish.”
Tuchel also opened up on the decision to start Thomas Müller, who previously began three games in a row on the bench, saying, “The position is open. I know you always pay special attention to this. He’s always a candidate for the starting eleven, today he’s on it.”
While it is nice to see Tuchel making the right call in starting Müller, it seems more of a choice made out of necessity and limited personnel available, than the coach simply making the right call.
Having watched another great performance from his team in which Müller played a key role there’s still hope Tuchel will increase the amount of game time Müller gets. The selection of Müller had the knock-on effect of pushing Jamal Musiala to the wing, which many see as his best position.
Tuchel spoke about what he wanted to see from the pairing of Musiala with Alphonso Davies on the left side of the pitch, explaining that he told Musiala to, “Dribble to open it up, together with Phonzie.”
So, is Tuchel finally perfecting his Bayern formula in starting Müller and getting the best out of Davies by pairing him with a player who likes to cut inside from the left, or is his tactical success just a product of limited options? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!
Looking for more thoughts and analysis on Bayern Munich’s 3-1 victory over Gladbach? Want to hear what went right, what could have been better, and everything in between? Well...we have the perfect thing for you! Check out our Bavarian Podcast Works — Postgame Show on Spotify or below: