Resist against a dangerous trio and run at the back line with the ball you have a chance to beat Paris Saint-Germain. Here is a suggested FC Bayern lineup to do it on Tuesday.
The squad is unchanged since the Hannover game on the weekend;
Kingsley Coman said he had a slight problem after the match, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be missing in action.
Let me make it clear that the point of this Champions League game is not to win by four goals and clinch the group. The only objective should be earning a win, fair and square. Anything else would be a distraction.
Compare quickly to what we saw in late September in Carlo Ancelotti’s last match in the dugout:
FC Bayern lineup at PSG
Kimmich, Javi, Süle, Alaba
Müller, Thiago, James
— Bayern Central (@bayerncentral) September 27, 2017
The most important difference between the two starting elevens would be Jérôme Boateng and Javi Martínez. The first was undeservedly benched by Ancelotti while the second was played out of position in central defense.
Jupp Heynckes has restored order in Bayern’s half of the pitch. Having Boa anchoring the defensive line with Mats Hummels will bring far more stability. David Alaba should be in much better shape than during his horrific comeback match in Paris.
Add Javi and Sebastian Rudy in front of them and you have an entirely different, and more robust, defensive scheme to contain the Qatar-sponsored PSG. Of course, Neumar, Kylian Mbappé and their mates remain extremely dangerous, but Bayern have gained cohesion in just a few weeks.
A key matchup should be Alaba against Mbappé. His task will be to slow him down with Hummels’ help to break up the most dangerous attacks. The same should be said of Joshua Kimmich doing the same job against Neymar with Boateng’s support on the right.
I would pick Rudy over Arturo Vidal for his defensive skills. As great as the Chilean warrior is when going forward, you need to defend properly before you can attack. Rudy is your man for that, he can pass, and he spent the last match resting on the bench.
I would keep the formation intact up front with Thomas Müller on the right, James as playmaker and Kingsley Coman on the left. With, of course, Robert Lewandowski up front.
The 4-2-3-1 above could feature James as either deep-lying no.10, as he was against Hannover on the weekend. He could also take the ball forward more often, which is what I am hoping for.
How to beat them
In a way, PSG are like the FC Barcelona we faced under Pep. Their front three is currently the most potent in football. It acts as a protective layer for a shaky defence. My bet is that stiffer defending on the Bavarian side will help to open things up at the other end.
If you watched PSG’s matches, you know that their defence has one glaring weakness: one-on-one challenges. The stats back it up with only 36% successful tackles in Ligue 1. Not the Bundesliga or Premier League, but Ligue 1.
How do you crack them open? Run at them with the ball to create chances.
FC Bayern will play for pride on Tuesday. That is important because Bavarians are proud and they like winning against the best. It can be done.