|Oliver Glasner.||Photo: Steindy, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Though Glasner has emphasized the need for his team to strengthen their form via the use of a consistent formation, injury news emanating from the SGE camp may force the new trainer to return to the back-three he inherited from previous gaffer Adi Hütter and summarily pitched after it failed to work in round one.
Sources at German footballing magazine Kicker claim that left fullback/wingback Christopher Lenz, who was absent for the most recent Europa League and Bundesliga fixtures, will not be able to return until after the international break. Erik Durm has been deputizing for Lenz, but he too has had to break off training this week.
Erik Durm verließ heute vorzeitig - scheinbar auch vom Trainerteam angeordnet - den Platz. Er wurde mehrere Minuten am rechten Knie behandelt. Da auch Lenz weiterhin fehlt, darf bei der #SGE hinten links nichts mehr passieren. pic.twitter.com/SygNonj2Dp— Christopher Michel (@CMoffiziell) September 22, 2021
This leaves Glasner without a natural left-back. A surplus of right-backs--Timothy Chandler, Almamy Touré, Danny da Costa--may still allow Glasner to line up the squad in a back-four. Given how deadly Köln can be on the flanks, however, the SGE gaffer may need a flat-back three capable of zonal marking within the box.
Adi Hütter successfully deployed a back-three during the club's strong run of form in the 2020/21 campaign's "Rück-runde". Young Brazilian Lucas Silva "Tuta" Melo was able to fill in for retired captain David Abraham and work alongside central pivot Martin Hinteregger and left-central actor Evan N'dicka.
Tuta's form dip is widely considered to be the primary reason Glasner opted to break up the back-three. Stefan Ilsanker initially filled in for the 22-year-old, who has not made an appearance yet this season.