After a week in the sun, FC Bayern Munich's players have returned home and are preparing to face the second half of the season. We check the news and look into some of the stories currently swirling around the club.
First, I'll note that a lot of this stuff has already been broken capably broken down by several commentors in the most recent front page post, in Grudnik's FanPost, and in other comment threads. So check those out for further details. Just wanted to lay down a marker for all pre-second-half-restart talk.
- One move has already been made: Mainz CB Jan "Two H" Kirchhoff has agreed to join Bayern at the end of the season. I honestly don't know much about him, other than recognizing that Mainz has played us pretty tough several times recently (they beat us and drew us last season), and that their defense is pretty good (especially at home). Is this just a crutch in case Badstuber can't come back right away this fall? Or is someone on the way out? If we keep Boateng, then we have at least 4 good, pretty young CBs for 2 spots (Kirch, Badstuber, Dante, and Boateng). So is Jerome Boateng on the way out? Or does this just bode poorly for van Buyten and Tymoschuk?
- On that note, Tymoschuk could leave on a free this summer. He's been a good soldier for Bayern for years, and he can play multiple positions decently. But he would probably be buried pretty low if he were to come back. There's even a chance that he could leave this month, but I'm not aware of any offers being made for him.
- Rafinha, on the other hand, wants to stay. He says he's not worried about Brazil and not seeking a transfer. Now, with Lahm playing so well and hardly ever taking a break, it's hard to see Raf getting a whole lot of time. But if Bayern fights all the way to the end of Pokal and Champions League play (which I expect we will), even Lahm's legendary stamina will be tested. Plus, in the unlikely event that our captain gets injured, I like Rafinha better than Boateng at RB.
- Rumors have Bayern interested in Sebsatian Rode. Not sure about this ... where would we put him? Even if Tymo leaves, Schewinsteiger + Gustavo + Martinez (yes, I still prefer them in that order) are 3 excellent players for 2 spots. And Kroos can deputize there in case of a true emergency. I like what I've seen of Rode, but he would have a tough time seeing minutes in the near future.
Also, I like his response when asked about the transfer talk: "This does not impress me."
- This weekend, Bayern will play a final tune-up against near neighbors SpVgg Unterhaching. I haven't been able to find any indication that it will be covered on TV, but we'll keep looking. Even if it's not, check in for a recap and hopefully some video highlights.
- In light of the Round-of-16 draw, the gambling odds for the Champions League have been updated. I'm not a big gambler, but it's sometimes interested to look into this stuff to see where the "smart" money leads. Bayern, having drawn a tough-but-not-terrible opponent (Arsenal), is now a 7-1 bet to win the whole competition. Real Madrid, despite a tough draw of their own, is still favored ahead of us (alternately 4-1 or 9-2).
Amazingly, Dortmund's odds are now nearly the same as Bayern's at 7-1, though a few places have them a little longer at 15-2 or 17-2. I guess people think they got lucky with that Shakhtar draw? I don't know, that can be a very tough tie, especially the away leg. I'll be supporting BVB, but considering they have a lot to do to get past this round, and would then surely have to face several tougher teams in the subsequent rounds, that's a lot to ask of them at 7-1 odds.
And AC Milan is getting no respect vs. Barca, obviously: in the first leg (which is AT THE SAN SIRO), you get get 80-13 odds on Milan to win and 57-17, basically 3-and-a-half-to-1, on the draw. Really, no one can see Milan snatching an early goal and then fighting to a 1-1 draw? If I had 17 bucks, I might take a chance on the draw in that one.
- Finally, I apologize about the lack of updates this past 2 weeks. I've had a busy couple days. My wife and I just found our we're having a girl. As soon as the 2nd half of the season starts, I'll be back to a daily or almost-daily schedule. Thanks for reading.