Injuries, mandatory rest for Champions League starters and the need to test young talent could yield a very unpredictable B-team lineup as Bayern face Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
- David Alaba has trained with the team on Friday;
- Jérôme Boateng is out, and he may only return at the end of the season;
- Manuel Neuer, Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman are still on the sidelines.
What Jupp said
- Javi Martínez, Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller and James Rodríguez will be on the bench or out of squad to recuperate;
- New professional Lars Lukas Mai, reserves captain Niklas Dorsch and U-19 forward Meritan Shabani will be in the squad.
Allow me to try predicting the unpredictable!
No rest for Kimmich and Rafinha
Due to a shortage, I do not believe that Jupp Heynckes can afford to rest Joshua Kimmich and Rafinha, although they totally deserve it. I make them my full-backs to start the match, with the possibility of subs after 60 minutes.
In central defense, I believe that Niklas Süle will be trusted as the main anchor due to his reliability and surprising pace at the back. Now that he has a contract until 2021, Lars Lukas Mai seems to be the fourth man in that area. He has played well enough a week ago to get the nod for a second consecutive week.
A newbie in the middle?
In the midfield, absences and the need to save energy for the Real Madrid second leg should force Heynckes to come up with a new combination.
I predict that Sebastian Rudy will be the designated shield in front of the defense and that Jupp will give a start to Niklas Dorsch. Due to his nature as a defensive midfielder, he would turn the formation into a 4-2-3-1.
Unusual attacking front
The attacking midfield gets even more interesting with Robben and Müller out. This is where Meritan Shabani could be the biggest starting XI surprise. He is an offensive player who does know how to play on the right flank. Therefore, I gamble on him as the third youngster in the lineup.
Otherwise, Tolisso should make for a strong playmaker and Juan Bernat will be a makeshift winger once again to allow Ribéry to rest.
In front of them, Sandro Wagner will probably be the striker. I would personally start Lewandowski to keep Wagner for the Champions League tie, but I do not expect Jupp to make that decision.
The match against Frankfurt is not important in terms of results or tactics. Stars need to rest and Jupp has the opportunity to test young talent once again after showcasing Mai a week ago. Let’s see how it turns out.