The international break is over, and Bayern Munich return to action uncomfortably soon with a game against fellow league leaders Bayer Leverkusen. Since taking over late last season, Xabi Alonso has shown that he’s a real rising star in the world of coaching — his presence has molded Die Werkself into a team that many consider to be genuine title contenders.
Ironically, Tuchel may have Xabi to thank for his current coaching gig. After all, it was Leverkusen’s win over Bayern back in March that (partially) led to the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann and the chaos that followed. If Tuchel doesn’t want to go the way of his predecessor, he’ll need to make sure his team is ready for the challenge.
There’s some really unsettling news coming out of the Säbener Straße — Joshua Kimmich, who missed Germany’s game against France with muscle problems, is a doubt for this game as well. Without another real replacement at defensive midfield, it’s hard to see how Tuchel will compensate for the loss of his only #6. Jamal Musiala is also not yet 100% fit, and there are question marks surrounding the availability of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Manuel Neuer has also suffered a setback in his recovery, feeling pain in his calf, and has been forced back to simple running training.
That’s all we know for now. Given the names available, Tuchel doesn’t have many options when choosing his squad. He will almost certainly go with Harry Kane up top with Thomas Müller behind him, flanked by Serge Gnabry and the in-form Leroy Sané.
According to kicker (via @iMiaSanMia) Konrad Laimer is set to replace Joshua Kimmich in midfield, so we may see a Laimer-Goretzka pivot. That’s a little bit concerning, since Goretzka and Laimer are similar in many ways, and neither offer the control in the middle of the pitch that Kimmich is capable of. Asked whether Matthijs de Ligt could be an option for the No. 6 role after being played there as a substitute against Gladbach, Tuchel shot down the idea, but said that each player needed to be flexible.
In defense, Alphonso Davies and Noussair Mazraoui are expected to start as the left and right-backs respectively, flanking the set center-back duo of Kim Min-jae and Dayot Upamecano. However Upamecano did miss France’s game versus Germany, so should he be ruled out of the Leverkusen game, you can expect MDL to slot right in. Sven Ulreich, meanwhile, will get another start in the goalkeeper’s position.
Here’s what the starting XI could look like:
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