With the Champions League effectively dealt with for the rest of the year (at least until the World Cup), Bayern Munich can shift focus back to chasing Union Berlin down at the top of the Bundesliga. The next opponents are Mainz 05, a team that Bayern are also set to face in the DFB-Pokal later this season. Beating them here would surely give Nagelsmann a strong blueprint to use in the knockout game where the stakes are so much higher.
Unfortunately, injuries are starting to mount.
Thomas Muller is out with a “pelvic irritation”, whatever that means. The player did not participate in team training today and Nagelsmann confirmed that he would miss the Mainz and Inter Milan games at the very least. For a man who’s barely missed any games throughout his career, this sudden spike in injuries seems like a cause for alarm (Editor’s Note: Oh no!). Let’s hope the medical staff can get him back on his feet as soon as possible.
Manuel Neuer remains out with shoulder issues, and Leroy Sane continues to work on his comeback from injury. Sane is further along than the similarly injured Lucas Hernandez, who will also continue to miss games for the time being. Overall, a very poor injury situation for four critical players.
So, how will the coach line his team up? It won’t be a B-team, you can be sure of that. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is reportedly “coping well” with the workload of starting games, and he should reprise his role at the top of the XI. Behind him will likely be Sadio Mane on the left, Jamal Musiala in the middle, and Serge Gnabry on the right. Basically, the same attack from the Barca game — but expect early subs (at least for Musiala).
In midfield, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich will probably continue to start, and Marcel Sabitzer will have to wait until the Inter game to get another shot at the starting XI. Ryan Gravenberch, who has been anxious about playing time lately, might not see the pitch until the 60th minute. Tough situation for the youngster, but it shows that Bayern’s midfield depth is solid.
The defense will probably remain mostly unchanged from the Barca game, with only Benjamin Pavard coming in for Noussair Mazraoui at right-back. Alphonso Davies, Matthijs de Ligt, and Dayot Upamecano will all reprise their roles while Sven Ulreich takes his place between the sticks.
Here’s what the lineup could look like:
Bild thinks that Sadio Mane will be rested. Is that likely? Who knows.
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