Bayern Munich host Real Madrid in a huge semi-final clash tomorrow. Three of our writers discuss their predictions for the first leg of this massive tie.
The idea of Martinez playing his defensive midfield role behind Thiago and James making plays is why I chose a 4-1-4-1 formation. Thomas Müller was among those coming off the bench late against Hannover, so he’s in no matter what.
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As a result, the most difficult decision came down to Arjen Robben or Franck Ribery. Ribery has been in better form lately, has shown good chemistry on the left side with David Alaba and was rested this past matchday while Robben played. Therefore, I think Heynckes will decide on the Frenchman.
In the back, I’m assuming there will be no changes to what has become the norm. The back four give Bayern the experience and skill necessary for such a big match. Ulreich will be the man in goal, so that experience and defensive savvy will be important in keeping him from being overworked.
Kimmich – Boateng – Hummels – Alaba
Martinez – Thiago
Muller – James – Ribery
No surprises here. Bayern Munich must be at their best against Real Madrid, which means Jupp Heynckes must play his best. Between injuries and other things, it’s pretty easy to choose Bayern’s best lineup. There are a few debatable areas, though.
Thomas Muller is in sensational form, so he simply has to play. James, meanwhile, has been key for Bayern this season and is a must-start for me against Real Madrid. However, the Colombian doesn’t quite provide enough defensive stability to be Javi Martinez’s only partner in midfield. So, Thiago steps in and plays in a deeper midfield role alongside his compatriot.
This pushes one Arjen Robben to the subs bench. He’s a bit out of form, so Franck Ribery gets the nod over him. This leaves Thomas Muller with the task of running the right wing alongside Joshua Kimmich. Robben can provide a huge impact as a “super sub” anyway. Should he come in, he’ll no doubt be eager to score a goal and prove why he deserves a spot in the starting lineup.
Kimmich – Hummels- Boateng – Alaba
Robben- James – Muller- Ribery
Jupp Heynckes will turn to his key players for this game after resting most of them against Hannover. The back five selects itself, as David Alaba returns to the starting lineup after recovering from a minor injury. Joshua Kimmich will slot in the right-back position while Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng form the partnership in the heart of the defense. Sven Ulreich keeps his place in goal as Manuel Neuer is not yet to fit make the matchday squad.
The main conundrum for Heynckes is his midfield personnel. Javi Martinez is definitely playing in the defensive midfield position. The German manager has been playing Thomas Muller and James Rodriguez in midfield, and I feel he is likely to stick with the pair at home. Both the attacking midfielders have been in fine form and deserve to play in this big game.
In the attack, there is no doubt that Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for the German Champions. On the flanks, Heynckes will go with his most trustworthy lieutenants. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery will slot in the right wing and left wing positions respectively.