In a hectic schedule before the winter break, Bayern host Cologne who are propping up the Bundesliga table with a meagre three points. Who should play on Wednesday.
The squad is recovering from their long list of injuries and now only Manuel Neuer, Sven Ulreich and Thiago Alcantara remain on the road to health. Bayern beat Frankfurt with an average team performance resulting in a 1:0 win over the weekend. The only goal came from a powerful Arturo Vidal. Robert Lewandowski started the game on the bench. This will probably mean he may start tomorrow against Cologne.
With the injuries and rotations in mind, here is my prediction for Bayern’s XI against Cologne:
Goalkeeping and defence: still some injuries
As both Neuer and Ulreich are not match-fit yet, Starke has been filling in between the goalposts. He did a pretty good job over the weekend against Eintracht Frankfurt. Bayern have no trouble in this department.
The rest of defence should see Joshua Kimmich return to boss at right-back, along with Jérôme Boateng, young rising star Niklas Süle and David Alaba. The four of them should not have a difficult night against a side that has just scored nine goals so far this season. Although Boateng has been a bit off lately, he shouldn’t struggle too much against the Billy Goats.
The recently recovered Juan Bernat also has a few issues he needs to work on as he looked a bit sloppy in his last game Borussia Mönchengladbach. He has since resumed training with the reserves and may even feature on the bench tomorrow night. It is unlikely he will start though, so Alaba will probably complete the defensive line.
Midfield and attack: powerful
In the last few games especially, Arturo Vidal has shone in attack. That being said, it will probably be good not to wear him out and give the squad room for rotation. We will probably see the midfield pairing of Sebastian Rudy and Javi Martínez on the evening. The two work well together and are solid in controlling the tempo of the game.
The attack will probably feature a solid foursome of Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller, James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski up front. With this powerful group in attack, we should see some exciting goals. Bayern will want to keep their points difference high as we near the winter break, especially against a Cologne side who ought to be trying super hard tomorrow to get their first win of the season (but let’s not hold our breaths).