Bayern Munich’s problems in defence are set to continue with centre-back Medhi Benatia failing to recover from ‘muscular problems’ in time for Wednesday’s meeting with Benfica.
The Moroccan international is an instrumental member of the Bayern Munich defence, especially as star defender Jerome Boateng is still recovering from a long term injury. Benatia is said to be making some progress with his injury and trained with the squad on Monday. However, manager Pep Guardiola has decided not to risk the player and has kept him out of the squad that travelled to Lisbon for the match, according to Bayern Munich’s official website.
Of the two long term absentees Boateng and Holger Badstuber, the former has resumed training, but is still working towards full match fitness. Arjen Robben, who has been out of action for around a month due to a groin problem, has resumed light training but will not feature against Benfica.
Full-back David Alaba is expected to slot into the centre of defence alongside Joshua Kimmich, with captain Philipp Lahm and left-back Juan Bernat flanking them on either side. Guardiola could go with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Arturo Vidal playing as a holding midfielder, often sliding in between the two centre-backs to form a back-three.
Vidal evolving as a player
Pep Guardiola is known to experiment with different positions for his players and the Spaniard seems to have found a new role to match Vidal’s style of play. Before moving to Bayern Munich, the Chile international was better known as a box-to-box midfielder who could act as the engine room of the team’s midfield. However, the 28-year-old has had to adjust to a different style at Bayern Munich under Guardiola.
The former Barcelona coach has deployed the Chilean in a more defensive role (more like that of Sergio Busquets or Xabi Alonso), instructing him to sit in front of the back four. In fact, he doubles up as a third centre-back when the team starts an attack in order to help the two full-backs push further forward and provide more width to the team.