Unlike most other teams in the Champions League, Bayern Munich are always in it to win the whole thing. That means getting off to a strong start, which in this case would mean beating Manchester United to take an early lead in the group and set the tone of the competition going forward.
Both Thomas Tuchel and Erik ten Hag have their critics, they both need something positive from this game to take back to their fans. The situation is arguably more dire for the Dutchman given United’s start in the PL, but Tuchel is probably under more pressure to win given the fact that Bayern Munich have not lost a CL group stage game since 2017.
Given the situation, what can each coach do?
If you’re looking for a proper breakdown of the two teams in terms of their form, tactics, and the narratives heading into the game, then check out our new podcast episode. We go in-depth and it should be a great way for you to get up to speed on the intricacies of the fixture and what we can expect. Listen to it below or on Spotify.
In terms of injuries, here’s what we know:
- Manuel Neuer is still working on his comeback.
- Jamal Musiala is not 100% fit yet, but Tuchel says he could play — possibly alongside (!) Thomas Müller.
- Kingsley Coman is back in the squad after sitting out against Bayer Leverkusen with muscular problems.
- Raphaël Guerreiro remains sidelined — it’s still too early for him to make a comeback.
- Joshua Kimmich trained well and should be ready to start.
Tuchel himself will not be on the sidelines, serving a red card ban for his antics against Manchester City last season. Meanwhile, for Erik ten Hag, the likes of Raphael Varane, Mason Mount, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, and Sofyan Amrabat are all injured or doubtful, and Antony has been excused from the squad for special circumstances. Jadon Sancho, unfortunately, will not enjoy a triumphant return to Germany — he has been banished from the squad due to an argument with the coach. This means he cannot be pocketed by Alphonso Davies like he used to be back in the good old days.
So, what kind of starting XI could we see from Bayern Munich? Well, expect Harry Kane up top (naturally) with Müller behind him. Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry should be locked-in starters on the wings, with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka behind them. Alphonso Davies and Konrad Laimer seem like Tuchel’s preferred fullback pairing at the moment, with Kim Min-jae and Dayot Upamecano in the center. Sven Ulreich, naturally, is expected in goal.
Here’s what that XI could look like:
Other options include:
- Jamal Musiala for Serge Gnabry on the left wing.
- Kingsley Coman for Serge Gnabry on the left wing.
- Noussair Mazraoui for Konrad Laimer at right-back.
- Matthijs de Ligt for either Dayot Upamecano or Kim Min-jae at center-back.
- Konrad Laimer for Leon Goretzka in midfield, with Mazraoui at right-back.