Bayern Munich vs. MLS All-Stars: How Bayern Will Line Up in Portland

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Bayern Munich vs. MLS All-Stars: How Bayern Will Line Up in Portland
Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Bayern Munich's last match of their United States tour and their final test before the 2014-15 season kicks off on Wednesday. The two-time defending Bundesliga champions will take on the MLS All-Star team in Portland, Oregon, at 6:30 p.m. local time.

Pep Guardiola's men were 1-0 winners against Chivas Guadalajara last Thursday in New Jersey.

Bayern's squad has steadily grown as more and more players have returned from World Cup duty, but the club's semifinalists and finalists are unlikely to start for lack of fitness. In fact, they'll only meet up with the club on game day.

For many youngsters and other players who played a lesser (or no) role at the World Cup, Wednesday's clash will be a final appeal for playing time before the upcoming season kicks off. Here's a look at the lineup Guardiola may select to face the MLS' best:

 

Goalkeeper: Tom Starke

Whether or not Pepe Reina is signed before kickoff, Tom Starke will likely start between the posts for Bayern. Manuel Neuer will be reunited with the team on Thursday, but he is unlikely to start just hours after the end of his summer vacation.

 

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

Center Back: Javi Martinez

Although Dante and Jerome Boateng will be back with the Bayern squad on Thursday, Javi Martinez is more likely to start than either of the two center backs who were mainstays of the squad for the previous two seasons.

The Spaniard is fitter and has had time to train.

 

Center Back: Holger Badstuber

Holger Badstuber was rested for more than half of Bayern's win against Chivas last Thursday and should be fresh to start in Portland.

The center back is in desperate need of match practice considering he spent nearly two full years on the sidelines with a pair of cruciate ligament tears; games like the upcoming clash with the MLS All-Stars are especially important to assessing the role he can play for Bayern in the 2014-15 season.

 

Center Back: David Alaba

Exactly what Guardiola will do once Boateng and Dante are fully fit is still uncertain, but until that time it appears that David Alaba will start as a third center back.

The Austrian has consistently played in such a role in recent preseason matches and can expect to start in any case, but most likely in his new-found position.

 

Right Midfield: Rafinha

Rafinha started in the Bayern defense against Chivas, alongside Martinez and Alaba. With Badstuber having been rested, the Brazilian will more likely than not be moved to the right wing to accommodate the 25-year-old center back.

Rafinha was a regular starter for Bayern last season, and at this point there's no reason to believe he won't remain relied upon by Guardiola.

 

Central Midfield: Sebastian Rode

Sebastian Rode has taken full advantage of the absence of stars like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm as the pair have enjoyed their extended post-World Cup vacation.

The ex-Frankfurt man has looked strong in midfield and scored a great goal against Wolfsburg. He can expect to earn considerable minutes once again.

 

Central Midfield: Pierre Hojbjerg

Pierre Hojbjerg is one of the few natural central midfielders who will have been available to Guardiola for more than a few hours before Wednesday's game kicks off. The Dane, who just turned 19, has a good chance of retaining his starting role.

Although he previously played on the right of midfield, Rafinha starting would likely mean that Hojbjerg will be moved to a central position.

 

Left Midfield: Juan Bernat

New Bayern signing Juan Bernat was the only signing hand-selected by Guardiola this summer, with transfers of the likes of Sebastian Rode and Robert Lewandowski having been all but confirmed before the ex-Barcelona trainer signed with the Munich giants.

The left-sided all-rounder has started regularly during the preseason and can expect to retain his role in the first XI at least until Bayern's World Cup stars are all back to full fitness.

Gero Breloer/Associated Press

 

Right Forward: Franck Ribery

Franck Ribery missed the World Cup due to an injury, but in preseason he has rediscovered the form that made him a Ballon d'Or candidate in January. The Frenchman has been a regular starter in the preseason since returning to fitness.

With the DFL-Superpokal on the horizon, he'll be aiming to make a strong impression.

 

Center Forward: Robert Lewandowski

New signing Robert Lewandowski has hit the ground running since joining Bayern in July. The Poland international missed the World Cup and appears to have benefited hugely from being a part of the Bayern team throughout the preseason.

There are few alternatives for the center forward spot, so Lewandowski can expect to start in Bayern's final test match of the preseason.

 

Left Forward: Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri only had a few days' training before the Chivas match and came on for the final half hour of that game.

Having had another week to recover form and fitness following the World Cup, he more likely than not will find his way into the starting lineup, perhaps at the expense of Claudio Pizarro.

 

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