Bayern Munich will be without a few players during the early phase of the Ruckrunde due to the AFCON and the Asian Cup. Noussair Mazraoui was expected to be a certainty to play for Morocco, but he suffered a muscle injury against Manchester United at the start of December.
It does look like Morocco is confident about Mazraoui playing a part in the AFCON. The former Ajax right-back was included in the Morocco squad for the competition. As things stand, Mazraoui is set to be part of the squad and miss games during January and the early part of February.
Bayern expected Mazraoui was set to miss AFCON since he was ruled out for six weeks. However, the Moroccan team believes that the 26-year-old defender will be out for three to four weeks. The Moroccan head coach believes that Mazraoui should be fine for the second or third game of the competition.
Kim Min-jae has also been called up by South Korea for the Asian Cup. The South Koran defender has been a mainstay for Bayern in central defense, so his absence in January is a vital blow for the team.
Meanwhile, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will be available for selection during the start of Ruckrunde. The 33-year-old striker has not been included in the Cameroon squad for the AFCON. He was part of the preliminary squad but didn’t make the final list.
Bayern need reinforcements in January to cope with the absence of Mazraoui and Kim Min-jae. The Bavarian club wants a versatile defender who can play in right-back/center-back positions. Signing a defender is the top priority for Rekordmeister when the winter window opens at the start of January.
The Bavarian club had identified Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo as the top target to improve defensive options for Tuchel. However, the Uruguayan defender will not leave the Catalan club in January. Bayern may revisit the deal when the transfer window opens at the end of the season. The record Bundesliga champions will have to look at other defenders in January to strengthen the squad.
Apart from a defender, Thomas Tuchel may also hope to strengthen the midfield in January. The German coach wanted to sign a defensive midfielder in the summer. Bayern had agreed a deal for Fulham’s Joao Palhinha, but the move fell through at the end of deadline day. It remains to be seen if a move for Palhinha will be reignited in January.