One of the things we’re lucky enough to have as a Bayern fan is the knowledge that any injuries will hardly drastically effect the sides performances, as Bayern has one of the best squad depths that football has to offer. Take for example Bayern’s defense: With Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng being the expected two first choice spots, they can hardly rest easy with this, as the likes of Javi Martinez is pushing them all the way for a first team spot himself. Furthermore, Bayern have just signed Niklas Sule for the side, not to mention a 5th quality player in Mehdi Benatia who is currently out on loan.
As a result, Ancelotti hardly has the easiest of choices to make each week, as almost the whole of the Bayern squad will be hoping and/or expecting a chance to start in each and every match, and Ancelotti has revealed that in many cases he gets a slight headache from this:
“It is always hard for me to bench someone, especially with a professional like Franck,” Ancelotti stated at a news conference.
“He is in great shape and could play without any problems.
“The same goes for Douglas Costa. Costa has been better in training than he was against Freiburg.
“Costa has different characteristics than Ribery, but they are both great for the team.
“The players are very professional, but I can simply not field all of them.” Via sportal.co.nz
Dropping Ribery really says it all about the side, and although Ancelotti might have some pretty tough decisions to make, it’s hardly the worst thing in the world for either him as the manager or for us as fans, as we can have confidence in not just 11 players but well over 20.
2013 was a great year for the Bayern faithful, as we were able to watch our side go on to win the famous treble of the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and most importantly, the Champions League. However, since Jupp Heynckes departure from management in the same season, Pepe Guardiola was never able to replicate what his predecessor had done, despite coming close on a number of occasions.
Having said that, the quality that Bayern have has arguably only improved since that fabled year, and in the opinion of Arjen Robben, Bayern undeniably have enough quality to repeat what they did a few years back and win the treble this season:
“To win the Champions League again is a great attraction and a driving force for us.
“We’ll also give it all we have in the league and German Cup to try and win everything.
“We have the quality to do it.” Via nation.co.ke
To compete successfully on 3 fronts requires consistency in all areas of the pitch, along with a bit of luck, and it is a tough task for any team, even with the quality of Bayern. In terms of how realistic this is, theres a few factors involved.
We can all agree that Ancelotti will be the right man if any to take Bayern to success in the Champions League, as he has won the competition an impressive 3 times previously. However, whether or not this is on the cards is another matter.
It is the manager’s first season with Bayern and it has hardly all been plain sailing so far, as Bayern have struggled much more so far this season than they have in previous seasons under Guardiola. As a result, Bayern are not as clear at the top of the table at this point than they would like to be, and this could come back to bite them in their chase of the treble.
Arjen Robben in BILD interview: "We are strong enough for the treble!" #FCBayern
— Home Bayern (@HomeBayern__) January 27, 2017
Whilst in previous seasons they would have a points buffer that they can fall back on, resting players in the league in preparation for the latter stages of the DFB-Pokal and the Champions League, the side will likely not be able to do this as they will have RB-Leipzig pushing them for the title all the way this season, currently sitting just 3 points behind Bayern.
As a result, a treble may not be on the cards this season, but with another transfer window and more time, Ancelotti and Bayern may surprise us all in subsequent campaigns.
When we talk about interceptions, many tend to think of defenders, and in the case of Bayern, the likes of Jerome Boateng or Javi Martinez would probably come to mind. However, to the surprise of many, Thiago Alcantara has been named as Europe’s top interceptor when it comes to winning the ball back in the oppositions half.
The Spaniard is usually renowned for his creative talents, assisting the likes of Lewandowski, Muller, Robben and Ribery from midfield as he orchestrates Bayern’s attacks with his acute passing skills, such as the likes that you can see in the like below:
However, it seems that the midfielder has become much more well rounded this season under Carlo Ancelotti, and has seemingly unlocked his hidden potential, as he has clearly also added clever and successful pressing to his game – something that is ideal with Bayern Munich’s play style.
Thiago Alcantara has won 25 interceptions in the opposition's half this season, more than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues. pic.twitter.com/pkGSHhCH1y
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 26, 2017
As Bayern fans, we can be happy with such a random statistic, as it really does show that Thiago has come on leaps and bounds this season and is now as well rounded as some of the world’s best, having arguably been Bayern’s most consistent and key performer so far this season. The 25 year old has just recovered from an injury and will be available for Bayern’s Champions League clash against Arsenal in a few weeks time – something that we can all get excited for.
For many, Mario Gotze was arguably a flop following his move to Bayern from Borussia Dortmund back in 2013. The player failed to establish himself as a consistent first team startlet and ultimately did not have the impact for the German Champions that he had previously had for Borussia Dortmund.
As a result, Bayern sold the attacking midfielder back to Dortmund in the summer to try and recapture the form that he found earlier in his career. But with many having been critical of Gotze not only this season, but of his past few years, David Alaba – a man who has worked with Gotze one to one on many occasions – has backed the player to succeed, arguing that the midfielder has undeniable talent:
“Gotze is an incredibly good player, who is very ambitious both on and of the pitch.
“He works a lot on himself and is a very positive and optimistic guy. We became good friends at Bayern.
“I think that he always delivered at Bayern whenever he was in the team. He scored goals and always gave his all for the team when he got the chance.
“He was always one of the first on the training pitch and always worked hard. He is hungry for success and is keen to keep on developing. He already showed that at Bayern and he is showing it again at Dortmund.” Via goal.com
But with only 2 goals in 15 appearances, many will be expecting more from Gotze, and this talent may need to be coupled with some good form if he is to improve this season and shrug off his consistent and unrelenting critics.
Bayern are a side who have both the stature and the history to attract the attention of almost any of the world’s top players, and it is certain that any interest that they show in youngsters that they hope to bring to the club will at least give them some food for thought. At least, that’s what Bayern will hoping with one man, currently playing at Ligue 1 side Monaco at the age of just 18.
The man that the German Champions are supposedly keeping tabs on is the young forward who goes by the name of Kylian Mbappe. The player is considered by many as one of footballs hot prospects, having proven himself in one of Europe’s top Leagues, with 6 goals this season despite only having 9 starts – a very respectable return for an 18 year old, especially from the wing.
— FCBayernNews (@MiaSanMiaNews) January 25, 2017
However, as usual, Bayern will have a fight on their hands if they are to acquire such a high profile as Mbappe, as both Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid have also expressed their own interests in the player. But with Bayern set to start preparing for life without the likes of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben over the next couple of years, the youngster may well be the worthwhile investment that they have been looking for.
Whether or not Bayern will be able to convince the youngster that they are the right move, or managed to steal him away from Monaco who are also a strong side and regular Champions League qualifiers; only time will tell.
It is recognised and accepted by all at Bayern Munich that Ancelotti will not be a long term manager at the club, with the coach only having spent 2-3 years at each of Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid since he left AC Milan back in 2009.
As a result, Bayern will be keeping a keen eye out over the next couple of years as they imminently expect the Italian’s departure from the club, and will look to replace him as manager soon after.
With there having been rumours that Jurgen Klopp might be the man that they will look to, many feel that the former Borussia Dortmund manager has long term plans that he plans on seeing through at Liverpool and Anfield.
Therefore, Bayern have begun to look elsewhere, and the name that has been cropping up of late is that of Hoffenheim manager, Julian Nagelsmann. The Hoffenheim coach has surprised many this season, as although Hoffenheim are a good side, Nagelsmann has led the side through the whole of the 2016/2017 campaign so far unbeaten.
Granted, 10 of these matches have resulted in draws, and that is why the side only sit in 3rd, 11 points behind Bayern Munich, but being the only team unbeaten in the Bundesliga amongst such talented squads as Borussia Dortmund and Bayern, it is something to be proud of and quite an achievement.
What makes it more impressive is that Nagelsmann is only aged 29 – younger than some of his players. He actually became the youngest ever Bundesliga manager when he took over from Huub Stevens aged 28 back in February of last year.
Because of his success, many feel that Bayern will be hoping to bring the young manager to their side when he has gained a couple more years experience, including what could be Champions League football next season if Hoffenheim’s current form continues. This is the opinion held by one man, Ralf Rangnick, RB Leizpig’s sporting director, as he goes on:
“He is young, a great professional and has charisma. He also has the ability to catch and motivate the team.
“Julian is already seen as Ancelotti’s successor at Bayern. I hope for him that he is advised by good people.” Via goal.com
Hoffenheim are the only undefeated side in Europe's top 5 leagues so far this season.
Their manager Julian Nagelsmann is only 29-years old. pic.twitter.com/S97HUlZm2R
— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) January 16, 2017
There are plenty of others out there who are both more experienced, proven, and would jump at the chance to manage Bayern. But with manager having shown he is highly capable at such a young age already, there is certainly the potential there for the man to become an all time great, and Bayern may be wise to give the manager a shot, as it could be the making of a long term gem for them.
Bayern players often face off in challenges against each other, with a whole host of media interest often surrounding them and asking them to take part in such challenges. This time it was Renato Sanches and David Alaba who took up the offer, as the duo went head to head in the Ultimate Set Piece Challenge.
The duo seemed to enjoy themselves, but secretly both would have been wanting to out do the other, as players will always be competitive at this level.
The challenge consisted of a free kick element, a cross bar challenge, and scoring from a corner kick – something difficult that they made look significantly easy.
Many might think that Alaba would breeze such a competition, having been Bayern’s set piece taker on many occasion, and with his few years extra experience ahead of his rival, but some might be surprised by Renato’s performance in the competition. To find out who won, you can check out the video below.
There had been some worry about the condition of Thiago Alcantara in recent weeks, as many did not know whether or not the Spaniard, who has been instrumental for Bayern so far this season, would be returning from his injury in time for Bayern’s Champions League clash against Arsenal which is set to come in mid-february.
The 25 year old suffered a muscle injury in Doha during Bayern’s winter training camp, but much to everyone’s happiness and surprise he has returned much sooner than expected, well in time for the all important European fixture.
With Vidal also having suffered a set back, it looked as if Bayern might go into the fixture without either of their main midfielders, however, Bayern fans can rest assured that one of their best performers will be returning for the fixture.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) January 25, 2017
However, Vidal does still remain doubtful for the match, as well as Jerome Boateng unlike to make an appearance against the Premier League side, at least in the first leg, as the central defender is currently recovering from surgery he underwent to fix a shoulder problem.
Regardless of whether these two players will be available for the clash, Bayern should be looking to progress to the quarter finals of the competition, with both their quality and their track record, not only against Arsenal but in the Champions League in recent years.
Lewandowski recently signed a new deal with Bayern Munich after considerable speculation surrounding his future with the German champions. The most notable reason as to why fans and the club alike were so worried about the future of their talisman striker was the fact that Real Madrid had been showing keen interest in the player – something that would turn any players head.
However, with Lewandowski having signed a new deal, the striker has revealed that he did not feel the need to move to the Spanish club as he believes that the move would not be a step up for him:
“Bayern is one of the best clubs in the world and is on par with Madrid and Barcelona.
“A club change would not give me a breakthrough in my career because here we can win every title. Also, I feel totally comfortable in Munich.” Via en.as.com
It’s both nice to hear this for Bayern fans, but what’s even nicer is that off the back of this mindset, the 28 year old has signed a new deal with Bayern Munich, keeping him at the club until 2021, for the next 4 seasons.
With the Polish man having proven himself time and time again at the highest level, it is likely that the forward shall remain Bayern’s first choice throughout this period. Having scored 89 goals in 125 appearances, he has a record that any striker would be proud of, and with him having continued with his great form this season, we can expect many more goals over the following seasons.
We’re all well aware of and excited about Bayern Munich’s new signing Niklas Sule, who has been announced to be joining the club in the summer. However, one man’s gain is another man’s gain certainly applies in this situation, as it seems Medhi Benatia really does not have a place at Bayern Munich anymore.
The Moroccan international is currently on loan at Juventus, and with the player having really failed to make an impact on the first team, struggling to make any first team appearances for the first team side this season, it seems that the Italian’s are unlikely to activate the buy out clause attached to his loan. Furthermore, if this is the case, Bayern will likely want to move Medhi on to get him off the wage bill, as the club will have no need for him.
With the future looking relatively glum for the central defender, he may see himself having to take a step down from the level that he is currently playing at, as the 29 year old has ultimately failed to establish himself for any of the teams that he has had recent spells out due to a lack of games, injuries and inconsistencies in his game.
Only time will tell what happens with the Bayern man, but it could even be the case that he is made a free agent come the summer.