The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at Bayern Munich’s prospects after the injury of Joshua Kimmich, who has been ruled out for three months.
It was a high-stake encounter at the Signal Iduna Park when Borussia Dortmund were playing hosts to Bayern Munich. The game was poised at 0-0 with both sides creating a lot of chances going forward.
Bayern’s high line of defence, in particular, served as an ideal incentive for the offensive duo of Erling Haaland and Marco Reus to make runs into the backline. And during one of those situations, Bayern’s key midfielder, Joshua Kimmich uncharacteristically lost control of the ball, prompting Haaland to pick the ball up and run straight at the goal.
Josh Kimmich tore his meniscus. He will be out for at least the rest of the year. Bad news for #FCBayern, but they should be able to get by without him for a while.
— Constantin Eckner (@cc_eckner) November 8, 2020
The Norwegian forward, however, was quickly taken down by the midfielder, in what was clearly a tactical foul. Unfortunately for Kimmich, though, Haaland’s incredibly strong feet movement was enough to tear his meniscus, which now rules him out of action for the rest of the calendar year.
This will, no doubt, serve as a massive blow for Hansi Flick and FC Bayern. And, here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at the club’s prospects without Kimmich and how it might affect their campaign.
A Change In Formation?
Flick has predominantly favoured a traditional 4-2-3-1 formation during his tenure as a Bayern Munich head coach. The two players in the double-pivot play a key role in sensing any danger while their collective aggression and tenacity boost the overall ball recovery rate in the middle of the park.
Therefore, it remains unlikely that we will see a radical change in Flick’s 4-2-3-1 following the injury of Kimmich. In fact, the German tactician is more than expected to retain his tried and tested formation, though there will, no doubt, be an added pressure on first-choice midfielder Leon Goretzka.
With Kimmich gone, the ex-Schalke starlet now needs to provide the additional solidity in the middle and cannot afford to drift too far away from his partner, whose identity is pretty much an open discussion at the moment.
Bayern Munich’s Go-To Options
The most obvious option for Flick as far as finding a replacement for Kimmich is concerned is Corentin Tolisso. The Frenchman has enjoyed a more prominent role in the first-team following the departure of Thiago Alcantara, and it’s only fitting he gets the nod ahead of Javi Martinez.
That said, there is a substantial difference between the styles of these two players, with Tolisso, in particular, often being labelled as an attack-minded midfielder. He can effortlessly operate as a number ten and is more than capable of creating chances in the final third. At the same time, however, the Frenchman lacks the defensive solidity, making him quite vulnerable in the second line of press.
Tolisso doesn’t have the leadership quality either, which is where Martinez comes into the fray. The Spaniard is one of the longest-serving members of the current Bayern Munich side and has a lot of pedigree at the highest level of football.
On the flip side, at the age of 32, Martinez is not exactly best-suited for Flick’s high-intensity game, especially against sides like Borussia Dortmund or RB Leipzig, which leads us to our favoured pick.
Could This Be The Moment For Marc Roca?
Marc Roca joined Bayern Munich in the summer, for a fee of just €9 million. It was insanely low for a player who was regarded as one of La Liga’s most sought-after midfielders, thanks to consistent performances at Espanyol.
A holding midfielder by trade, Roca was presumably brought in as a potential replacement option for the departing Thiago. His style of play is quite similar to the current Liverpool star, especially when it comes to circulating possession in and around the final third. He is also an excellent reader of the game.
During his time at Espanyol, Roca has played the role of a deep-lying midfielder, providing cover for the more attack-minded teammates. His main job was to prevent counter-attacks and win loose balls in the middle of the park. Although this role is not quite identical to Kimmich’s role in Flick’s 4-2-3-1, it certainly makes the Spaniard a great fit in the Bayern lineup.
Especially alongside a more robust midfielder like Goretzka, Roca could definitely thrive with his defence-oriented style of play. At the age of 23, he is more proactive than Martinez while past experiences at Espanyol make him a much better defensive outlet when compared to Tolisso.
Unfortunately, Flick is yet to properly utilise the services of Roca so far this campaign, with the ex-Espanyol star featuring only once in the Bundesliga. His only ninety-minute appearance in a Bayern kit came against fifth division FC Duren, in the first round of the DFB Pokal.
It essentially means that Flick will now have the uphill task of incorporating the young midfielder into his tactics. It also goes without saying that the player himself will need some time before he can acclimatise himself into the tactical nature of the Bundesliga, so it’s very likely that Tolisso could be utilised as an immediate replacement for Kimmich, for the time being.
Will Bayern Delve Into The Market?
As clarified by Constantin Eckner in the tweet, Kimmich has been ruled out only until the rest of the year, meaning he will likely to back into the fray before the start of this season’s Bundesliga Ruckrunde.
Moreover, Bayern Munich already have a lot of options at their disposal, all of who were discussed earlier in this article. So the club ideally has no reason to delve into the market, though it will be interesting to see if Kimmich’s absence could open up a possibility of youth academy star and potential USMNT prospect Taylor Booth, who is already making some waves in the youth leagues.
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