VfL Bochum vs Bayern Munich: Bundesliga Matchday 22 Preview

As Bayern Munich's form continues to falter, the Bavarians take on Bochum Sunday in an attempt to catch Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga title race. What changes will Bayern look to make to regain form?
Bayern Munich will look to get back to winning ways against VfL Bochum.
Bayern Munich will look to get back to winning ways against VfL Bochum. / Marcel Engelbrecht - firo sportphoto/GettyImages
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The last week has been one that all involved with Bayern Munich hope to put behind them very quickly. Matchday 21 saw a Bayern display that was nothing short of forgettable. In what was considered the biggest match of the 2023/24 Bundesliga season, the Bavarians struggled to test home side Bayer Leverkusen and were left licking their wounds after a 3-0 thrashing. The defeat leaves Bayern five points adrift from the top spot in the points table and gives Leverkusen all the confidence that they can go on and claim the Meisterschale.

Hoping to put the weekend's performance behind them, Bayern Munich visited Rome to take on Lazio in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16. Similarly to the performance over the weekend, it would be one that Bavarians would like to forget. Despite the early pressure, Bayern were unable to find the back of the net and would regret not finding the early goal. A resolute and strong defensive performance from Lazio paid off, as a red card for Dayot Upamecano and a penalty would lead to a Ciro Immobile goal from the penalty spot. Lazio would happily take the 1-0 advantage and see out the rest of the match, setting up a return leg in Munich that is a must-win for Bayern.

Despite the back-to-back poor performances, Thomas Tuchel continues to have the backing of the Bayern bosses. As Bayern prepare for a visit to Bochum, this will certainly be one of the most important fixtures of Thomas Tuchel's time in charge at Die Roten. Having only registered one shot on goal over the last two matches, another sluggish performance at Bochum, who are flirting with relegation, could spell disaster for Tuchel. What adjustments and changes will the Bayern boss make heading into matchday 22?

Bayern Munich

I want to preface this portion by saying I do not know what Tuchel may do. This is the worst run of form I have seen in several years from Bayern. Tuchel has to change something in an attempt to find a solution.

Manuel Neuer will continue in goal. There was some concern regarding his fitness before the Leverkusen game, but in the end, he was fit enough for the start.

Bayern's injury issues went from bad to worse as new signing Sacha Boey was ruled out for the foreseeable future with a hamstring injury. With Konrad Laimer still out, Noussair Mazraoui remains the only fit right back in the squad. Centrally, Kim Min-jae will remain in the starting XI, and I'm going to hope that we see Matthijs de Ligt. I am not sure what Tuchel has against the Dutch center-back, but with Dayot Upamecano struggling, the team needs someone who is in good form. Raphael Guerreiro will get the start on the left as Alphonso Davies is yet to recover completely from an injury.

In the central midfield, Joshua Kimmich is expected to start. The German midfielder can be paired with Aleksandar Pavlovic. The double pivot of Kimmich and Leon Goretzka is not working currently and a shakeup centrally is needed. While Thomas Muller has returned to the starting lineup in recent matches, the performances of the team have not changed. I think it is time to move Jamal Musiala back to the number ten position.

One of the big issues Bayern is facing in the attacking half is the inability to provide width. Leroy Sane continues to play as an inverted winger. Without a right back providing width around him, Sane is essentially driving into crowded central areas. I would look to move Sane to the left to provide the attack more width and look to create problems for Bochum's back line. On the right, I would go with Thomas Muller to play a similar role. While he does like to drift central, much of his movement is without the ball, and can work off the extra space provided by Sane staying wide left. Centrally, Harry Kane starts with the hope that the extra width on both sides and the ball handler in Musiala underneath him, is enough to keep the goal-scoring center forward higher up the field.

** I can certainly see a change of shape and the addition of a second CF such as Choupa-Moting being included to ignite the attack. However, I feel the issues in attack lie from a lack of width and the narrowness Bayern are currently attacking with. I don't believe adding a second CF would fix the problem. I would love to see Tel given an opportunity as it seems nothing else is working.**

Bayern Munich Predicted Starting XI

Mazraoui-de Ligt-Kim-Guerreiro