Jerome Boateng has become the latest Bayern Munich player to pull out of his national team squad, succumbing to a calf injury.
Joachim Low announced he is replacing Boateng with Wolfsburg’s Robin Knoche, an uncapped central defender just 22 years old.
Boateng can now be added to the increasing list of players with injuries for Bayern. With Holger Badstuber, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez, Claudio Pizarro, and Pepe Reina all likely out until at least the new year, the long-term stuff is only the beginning.
Manuel Neuer pulled out of the squad as well with what is being called a “right knee injury” with no other details, although the extent of the injury sounds minimal. Bastian Schweinsteiger still hasn’t played this season with his knee problems, albeit he has begun training again.
The injury to Boateng, if serious enough to keep him out of club matches, would likely scrap Pep Guardiola’s three-at-the-back scheme and force him to play Medhi Benatia alongside Dante. With Alaba, Badstuber, and Boateng all down, those two remaining players would be Bayern’s only central defenders available. Even when Alaba comes back in January, he is more suited to left-back, but had been playing on the edge of the three CB system.
Third-string keeper Tom Starke is also expected to be out until February with a high ankle sprain bad enough to require surgery, so Neuer’s injury is also somewhat worrisome.
It would appear that for the near future, the depth of the squad and Pep’s ability to rotate players will be put to the test in the near future. Bayern has a league match with Hoffenheim and a Champions League fixture with Manchester City when the international break is completed.