For a team that has achieved a lot of success this season, Bayern Munich has found itself in quite a pickle for the next few weeks.
With Dayot Upamecano suspended for this weekend’s tilt against Union Berlin, Benjamin Pavard suspended for the club’s next Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain, and Noussair Mazraoui working his way back into shape following a long stint away from the squad, manager Julian Nagelsmann has to figure out how to manage the next two Bundesliga matches and the next Champions League fixture while trying out potential lineups.
German outlet kicker took a look at the most likely scenario for Bayern Munich vs. PSG — factoring in Pavard’s red card suspension. The publication thinks Nagelsmann will use Bayern Munich’s upcoming Bundesliga match against VfB Stuttgart on March 4th as a “dress rehearsal” for the return leg against PSG in the Champions League:
This (Stuttgart) game is likely the dress rehearsal before the second part of the PSG duel. Pavard is actually indispensable given the current personnel situation. But when, if not in Stuttgart, does Nagelsmann want to try out a formation without him? De Ligt and Upamecano inside, Joao Cancelo on the right, Alphonso Davies on the left: this could be the solution.
However, after a strong start, Cancelo lost some ground recently. And defensive work is not one of his salient features. The problem: Mbappé is likely to attack primarily through his side. The good news: Davies showed a slight upward trend in the last two games after a drop in form. The Canadian set up both the goal in Paris and the two goals in Mönchengladbach.
Shifting to a back four after settling into a back three could be difficult. To stay with a back three, however, would also present some risk — and require some creativity. That innovation might not include Daley Blind, though, as the Dutchman’s lack of elite-level pace is feared to be a bad matchup against PSG:
If Nagelsmann wants to bring back a three-man chain against Paris, he must either trust Blind or come up with something surprising. Noussair Mazraoui as another option at right back remains questionable. The Moroccan is due to return to team training on Wednesday after recovering from a pericardial infection, but will there be enough time until Paris after a break of more than two months? Probably not with a view to the starting eleven.
What will Nagelsmann do? At this point, it is unclear, but everyone certainly will have some thoughts about what the defense should look like.
What do you think? Drop your prediction in the comments below!