Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-jae returns to action against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bayern Munich has announced its starting lineup for the 14th round match of the 2023-2024 German Bundesliga season against Eintracht Frankfurt at 11:30 p.m. ET on Monday at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany.
Munich went with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Harry Kane started up front, with Leroy Sane, Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting, and Kingsley Coman in the second line. Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka formed the back three, with Alfonso Davies, Kim Min-Jae, Dayot Upamecano, and Nusair Mazrouei in the defense. Manuel Neuer was in goal.
One of the biggest questions leading up to the match was whether Kim Min-jae would start. He’s been one of Bayern’s most prolific players this season, and the pressure is even greater when you factor in his A matches with the South Korean national team.
At the start of the season, there were few concerns. With three World Cup center backs in Kim Min-Jae, Matthias Dürricht, and Dayot Upamecano, Bayern didn’t have too many center back concerns at the start of the season. However, injuries to both Diricht and Upamecano caused problems. When Diricht returned from injury early in the season, Upamecano left, and when Upamecano recently returned from injury, Diricht once again left the team with a knee injury, leaving only Kim Min-jae as a consistent player in the center back position. Without him, it was difficult to form a center back line.
Kim has taken all the pressure on himself, and in recent games, he has played full-time in 15 consecutive matches, which has led to some controversy. Injuries to his teammates have been unavoidable, but the constant full-time work has taken its toll, with Kim showing signs of exhaustion during league matches. With Bayern looking to bolster their defense in the winter transfer window with the likes of Rafael Varane, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Ronald Araujo, it seems that Kim needs a break.
The player himself wasn’t too worried about overuse injuries. “It sounds like I’m overworked, and I want to be grateful that I’m playing. I think I’m playing without getting injured, and I need to manage it well so that I don’t get injured,” Kim Min-jae said before the A match against China in November, but his concerns were not diminished.
However, his lack of stamina has also meant that he hasn’t been able to perform at 100 percent, including the dominant defensive performances he showed at Napoli. In the last match against Heidenheim, he made a series of mistakes in the second half that contributed to the team’s goal, and in the previous match against Cologne, he collided with opposing striker Davy Zelke on the ground and fell to the turf in excruciating pain. Fortunately, Kim was able to return to the field and play the full game after being checked by the medical staff.
Kim was in trouble before the last match against Copenhagen. Major media outlets predicted that Kim would not play in Copenhagen. According to German outlet Bild, “Kim already missed training on Monday. His participation in the upcoming game in Copenhagen is unclear,” suggesting that Kim might not be able to train and play. In the end, Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel decided to leave Kim out of the last game in Copenhagen, which was a more relaxed affair, citing a hip bruise as the reason. The match against Union Berlin was then postponed due to heavy snowfall, giving Kim two weeks of rest in a difficult time.
After two weeks of rest, Kim was back in the starting lineup against Frankfurt and ready to take the field. With the exception of the game against Man Utd, he’ll be back in action before the winter break. Bayern fans will be eager to see how he performs after the break, as he should be in much better shape.