Bayern Munich receive fitness boost in central defense

Despite central defenders missing training in Portugal this week, Bayern Munich will have all three senior center-backs available for selection against Werder Bremen.
Bayern Munich expect Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt to be fit for game against Werder Bremen.
Bayern Munich expect Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt to be fit for game against Werder Bremen. / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

After a winning start to Ruckrunde last Friday against Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich had a long break until their next league game against Werder Bremen. The Bavarian club had organized a training camp in Portugal during this week. Players returned to Munich on Thursday after productive sessions in Portugal.

Thomas Tuchel had to conduct a few training sessions in Portugal without their three center-backs. Eric Dier left the training camp due to the birth of his child. The English defender is expected to train with the squad on Friday. He should be in the squad on Sunday to make his Bundesliga debut against Werder Bremen.

Dayot Upamecano had also missed training earlier this week due to a knock. The French defender was spotted back in the team training on Wednesday. Barring any setback in the next three days, Upamecano should be fit to start in central defense on Sunday.

Matthijs de Ligt also suffered a minor injury this week. The Dutch defender missed several team training sessions in Portugal, but he resumed outdoor running on Wednesday. Thomas Tuchel is confident that the Dutch defender should be back in training before the game against Bremen at Allianz Arena.

As things stand, Bayern should be able to field the center-back pairing of De Ligt and Upamecano against Werder Bremen. If De Ligt does show any reaction in first-team training, Dier will slot in central defense along with Upamecano against Bremen. Tuchel will be relieved that he will not have to use central midfielders or full-backs in defense.

De Ligt has struggled with injuries this season. The Dutch defender had two lengthy spells on the sidelines due to injuries in the first half of the season. He is no longer the first-choice center-back option for Tuchel, as Kim Min-jae and Upamecano have played regularly in the heart of defense. The Dutch international will reportedly assess his future at the club in the summer if he doesn’t play regularly during Ruckrunde.

With Kim Min-jae at the Asian Cup, the upcoming games will give De Ligt an ideal opportunity to make a case for a long run in the starting XI. With good fortune on the injury front, the Dutch international can provide strong competition to Kim Min-jae and Upamecano.

Bayern are also expected to strengthen defense in the summer. The Bavarian club remains interested in Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo. It will be interesting to see how Die Roten’s pursuit of a center-back in the summer will impact the future of existing defenders at the club.