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HomeBundesligaCologne as a test run for Bayern's left side of defense

Cologne as a test run for Bayern’s left side of defense

In the quarter-final second leg against FC Arsenal, coach Thomas Tuchel will be without Alphonso Davies, who is suspended but in poor form, and has several options to choose from

Of course, relegation candidates 1. FC Köln cannot be compared with the Premier League leaders. Cologne do not have Bukayo Saka and his class and speed on their right side of attack anyway. Nevertheless, Tuchel will have to decide whether to bring Davies back for this Bundesliga match on Saturday afternoon and spare others, or whether to give Arsenal a test run.

The natural alternative to Davies is Raphael Guerreiro. But the Portuguese is likely to struggle to keep up with Saka’s pace and is therefore not the ideal counterpart for the Englishman. Will Tuchel risk it anyway? In the 2-2 draw in the first leg, he substituted Guerreiro for the injured Serge Gnabry in attack. Regardless of the personnel, the left-sided attacking player will have to help out defensively, as he did in London, by doubling up to stop the nimble Englishman.

In addition to Guerreiro, Tuchel has other options at his disposal. Noussair Mazraoui is familiar with the position from the Moroccan national team. However, the regular right-back has been injured recently and lacks match practice. Will he get it against Cologne? Konrad Laimer could also help out at left-back. The advantage of this is that it would free up space in midfield for Aleksandar Pavlovic, who should also get some minutes against Cologne after recovering from illness. Less likely is the option with Min-Jae Kim, who is quick but a central defender and has looked very unsettled of late.

Either way: Tuchel will have to weigh up the options, none of which are ideal. But neither was the one with the weak Davies – and it still worked out well. Sasha Boey, who was the left link of a five-man backline in the 3-0 defeat in Leverkusen, is missing due to a torn muscle fiber. However, Tuchel would probably not have entrusted him with this position a second time

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