FC Bayern München will probably face a good test against Sevilla FC on Tuesday in Champions League quarters. The team could field a tried and tested lineup with two changes to try and earn a win.
The Spanish side is not a favourite in this competition, but a club that won the Europa League three times in a row from 2014 to 2016 can only be taken seriously. This is why the strongest possible lineup is required for the first leg.
- Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman are still out. No surprise there.
What Jupp said
- Juan Bernat and Arturo Vidal have trained “quite normally” and they are expected to be available on Tuesday.
What we know about Sevilla is that they play possession football. So far in La Liga, they have a 53% possession rate, 82% passing accuracy and a 60% take ons success rate. Those are respectable numbers. However, defending is not their biggest strength and they win only 36% of their tackles.
Bayern are expected to show their superior individual class, hold onto the ball and take the game to their hosts. To achieve this, I suggest the following lineup:
Kimmich back in the defence
The only change I would make here, in comparison with last weekend’s lineup, would be Joshua Kimmich returning at right-back. The young German has played an awful lot of football for club and country this season and a rest against Dortmund was well-earned.
I would change nothing else in the back four. Sevilla are good with the ball in one-on-one situations and it takes the best defensive players to face them. You could easily make a case for Niklas Süle to play, but I believe that the best combination remains Mats Hummels paired with Jérôme Boateng. Süle can always play next weekend.
Jaja in midfield
The BVB match has convinced me that pairing Javi Martínez and James Rodríguez (Jaja!) in central midfield is the best idea, at least at this point in time. James’ versatility is uncommon and he has chemistry with the more defensive Javi.
Thiago Alcântara can also play well alongside no.8 in such a scheme, but I would have other plans for this match.
Thiago in attacking trio
Arjen Robben played 90 minutes against BVB on the weekend and Thiago had limited playing time. This makes the case, in my opinion, for the Dutchman to start on the bench and have Thiago as the designated playmaker. That would leave the wings to Franck Ribéry and Thomas Müller.
The Spaniard is the best of the three potential starters when taking on a defender, winning 52% of the battles. This skill should come in handy against Sevilla, especially in Kingsley Coman’s absence.
The game plan should not be too complicated. Deprive Sevilla of the possession they crave. Attack without bringing the whole back line in the final third to minimise the chances of getting countered. If the match is close, a clean sheet is the number one priority. An away goal would be great. Anything beyond would be icing on the cake.