Lineups, team news, injuries, Thomas Muller returns, and more!

Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin: Lineups, team news, injuries, Thomas Muller returns, and more!

It’s not quite Der Klassiker, but Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the season so far. Having lost to Gladbach last weekend, the Bavarians come into the game level on points with the east Berliners and also Borussia Dortmund, which means a loss could put the team as low as third place by the end of the matchday.

Already under pressure due to mediocre results 2023, Julian Nagelsmann needs a win on Sunday to shore up Bayern’s place atop the Bundesliga and keep BVB at bay.

Team news
Sadio Mane and Noussair Mazraoui have both returned to team training, but it’s still too early for them to participate in a game. Dayot Upamecano, meanwhile, is suspended due to the red card he got vs Gladbach. Choupo-Moting also had a slight neck problem, but he and Kingsley Coman should both be available for the game, albeit doubtful.

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So, what kind of lineup will we see? Well, after much criticism over the week, Julian Nagelsmann announced that Thomas Muller would definitely be in the starting XI vs Union Berlin. Based on how the coach operates, we can assume that Muller will play as the striker vs Union, with Jamal Musiala behind him at attacking midfield. Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry are the likely winger candidates, with Kingsley Coman and Sadio Mane as the first options off the bench.

In midfield, a double pivot of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich seems like the most likely outcome, based on the personnel available. Ryan Gravenberch probably isn’t ready to play against a team like Union Berlin just year, and Goretzka and Kimmich have been in good form since the former returned to the lineup vs PSG.

The defense is the main source of questions. Given that Union will likely play defensively, Julian Nagelsmann may go for an overly offensive back four setup with Joao Cancelo and Alphonso Davies as wing-backs. Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs de Ligt could simply reprise their roles as center-backs in such a setup, with Yann Sommer in goal.

After leaving Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowski’s dream move turns to a nightmare as FC Barcelona crash out of the Europa League

When Robert Lewandowski moved from Bayern Munich to FC Barcelona last summer, he said he was doing it for a new challenge. Well maybe he got a little more than he bargained for. As of writing, Barca have been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League by Manchester United on a 4-3 aggregate scoreline. In his eight years at Bayern, Lewy never once dropped out of the Champions League before the Round of 16.

Barca started the game well, controlling possession and eventually scoring off an (admittedly soft) penalty, converted by Lewandowski. That would be the extent of Lewandowski’s contribution on the night as the Polish hitman found Man United’s defense far too much to overcome. He was not helped by the poor quality of Barca’s midfield — with Pedri and Gavi both out, there was no one to provide him service. A guy like Thomas Muller doesn’t just play at any old club.

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With this latest setback, maybe Lewandowski will be rethinking his decision to leave Bayern Munich. Leon Goretzka’s words last October, when Barca were about to drop out of the CL after failing to beat Inter Milan, will be ringing in his ears right now. “Lewy was very spoiled at Bayern,” said the midfielder. “Always progressing to at least the Round of 16.”

Now he may realize the value he’s lost by switching to the wrong club at this stage of his career. Instead of playing at the highest level against the likes of Mbappe, Messi, and Neymar, he’s being knocked out of Europe’s second-tier competition by the likes of Rashford and Fred. It’s a massive downgrade.

Oh well, at least he got his “dream move” I guess. Good job, Lewy.

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