Bayern seek to return to winning ways in their visit to Freiburg. Die Roten will need a stable midfield presence to ward off any potential counterattacks. Here is how we think they should line up.
I reckon Bayern should return to a 4-2-3-1 after employing a 4-1-4-1 against Hertha last week. The reason is that Freiburg carry a bit of attacking momentum. Nils Petersen has scored 12 goals thus far in the Bundesliga, including two in the last two games. As a result, you need both stability and momentum in the linkage between defence and attack. A proper defensive midfield in a 4-2-3-1 scheme provides that.
Joshua Kimmich missed the game against Hertha and should return to action on Sunday. Rather than take any risks, the proper approach is lining up the headliner defence. Mats Hummels in the centre alongside Jérôme Boateng, who also returns from illness. I see no point in employing rotation, seeing as how the team do not have a midweek game.
Dynamic defensive midfield
Sebastian Rudy has featured left often these days. After rising to the spot as one of Bayern’s most consistent players, he has slowly drifted back in the pecking order. This even meant being dropped from the squad altogether in recent weeks. However, I think this game presents an important opportunity for him.
Javi Martínez has played almost every recent game. Jupp Heynckes could give him a rest. Coupling with Rudy’s traditional defensive midfielder style would be Arturo Vidal. His dynamic, physical, never-give-up personality is a great complement to a more settled player.
The choice of these two players could amount to a dynamic lineup, with Vidal trotting upfield in the attacking phase. This would mean that Bayern would shape up as 4-1-4-1 when in possession.
Attack: the left wing question
Jupp Heynckes confirmed four absences in his press conference on Friday. Franck Ribéry contracted a bout of gastroenteritis and joined Manuel Neuer, Kingsley Coman and James Rodríguez on the sidelines. This rendered my piece on how Bayern can cope with Coman’s injury a bit useless until further notice.
Although Heynckes stopped short of confirming who will take on the left wing duties, he did float around the likes of Juan Bernat and Thiago Alcântara as candidates.
Based on this, I give the nod to Thiago. He needs playing time to return to his high level. This sort of opposition presents an opportunity for him to do that with a challenge. Juan Bernat could come in and deputise if needed.
As for the rest of the attacking line, there are no surprises. Thomas Müller comes in his traditional Raumdeuter role, as does Arjen Robben wide on the right. Robert Lewandowski spearheads the attack as striker.