The final international break of the calendar year finally came to an end this week. Despite the German national team’s continued struggles, it was a productive international break for Bayern Munich as none of their players suffered injuries during the break.
Die Roten entered the international break on a good note following a 4-2 victory over Heidenheim. Despite taking a 2-0 lead into the halftime break through a Harry Kane brace, Heidenheim capitalized on a poor five-minute spell from Rekordmeister in the second half and scored a quick brace to equalize the scoreline. Die Roten’s substitutes rescued the game for Thomas Tuchel as Raphael Guerreiro and Eric Choupo-Moting found the net in the last 20 minutes to clinch all three points.
Bayern returns to Bundesliga action on Friday vs FC Koln as they look to go top of the table. This will be the first competitive match between the two clubs since the memorable final game of the last campaign. Die Roten clinched a late 2-1 win, which helped them to lift the Bundesliga title. Thomas Tuchel will be looking for a similar result on Friday. Let us look at how both teams may line up on matchday 12 of the Bundesliga.
The international break probably came at a good time for Manuel Neuer. His return as Die Roten’s number one has been nothing short of fantastic. With the matches quickly piling up, the international break allowed Neuer to get some recovery after playing back-to-back games before the international break. He will look to continue his strong form on Friday.
Noussair Mazraoui has started to really put his mark on the side as the starting right back, and I only see Konrad Laimer as a possible threat to unseat Mazraoui from the starting position. Having started the last couple of matches, I don’t expect Tuchel to make a change. Dayot Upamecano and Kim Min-jae continue to be the only fit center-backs on the roster, so they will start against FC Koln.
The left-back position is a bit intriguing heading into Friday’s match. Alphonso Davies played 90 minutes Tuesday night in Toronto against Jamaica (scoring 1 and assisting 1). With such a quick turnaround, I’m wondering if this is an opportunity to give Raphael Guerreiro his first start in a Bayern shirt.
With Joshua Kimmich back from the two-match suspension following his red card vs Darmstadt, I expect him to slot back into his normal defensive midfield role. While Konrad Laimer strongly filled in for Kimmich, Leon Goretzka should get the start with Kimmich in the center of the park. As Jamal Musiala continues to recover from his hamstring injury, Thomas Muller is expected to play in the number ten position.
Leroy Sane did not have the best international breaks having started and played 90 minutes in a 3-2 loss to Turkey before being dismissed just after halftime against Austria. Despite the tough outings with the national side, Sane has been superb for Bayern this season. Expect him to start on the right. While Leroy Sane struggled during the international break, Kingsley Coman scored twice for France against Gibraltar. The French winger will start on the left. Centrally, Harry Kane will continue his insane form as he leads the race for the Golden Boot in his first season in the Bundesliga.
"Predicted Starting XI Neuer Mazraoui-Upamecano-Kim-Guerreiro Kimmich-Goretzka Sane-Muller-Coman Kane"