An international break, a UEFA Champions League match, and two Bundesliga matches are in the past. Xherdan Shaqiri, Dante, and Claudio Pizarro all picked up knocks, some worse than others, while Mario Götze, Javier Martínez, and Thiago Alcântara try to regain their fitness.
Here is how the second Bavarian Football Works Squad Ranking stacks up:
|Philipp Lahm (c)||2||1
|Daniel van Buyten||18||15||16||15||16||17|
= rank increase
= rank decrease
"-" = Not Ranked
Mario Mandžukić – Pep Guardiola has played around with Müller up top, and not having a concrete finisher stagnated FC Bayern, especially against Hertha Berlin. The minute Mandžukić came on, the club scored three goals, two of which coming from Mandžukić. He is tied with the Bundesliga lead in goals with Sidney Sam, Vedad Ibisevic, and Roberto Fermino, and has eight goals in all competitions.
Thomas Müller – He has had his moments – two goals against Mainz, two goals against Hanover 96 – and has been a swiss army knife of sorts – has played four different positions with FC Bayern. The only insecurity with his rank is how firm his spot is in the starting XI. With Götze, Thiago, and Martínez getting fitter by the day, his days as an everyday feature in Guardiola's 4-1-4-1 could be numbered.
Mario Götze (Ryan Cowper's Rank: 6 | Aggregate: 12) – The 4-1-4-1 system that Pep has built this team around needs a false 10. In matches when they haven't used one, this team has often looked flat and stagnant both through the midfield and in attacks down the wings (against quality opposition). This team relies on that role and Mario Götze has been very good in that role since his return from injury, effectively supplanting Thomas Müller as the first choice false 10 on this team. Luckily, Thomas Müller is so talented he can play pretty much any other position just as well so we get the best of both worlds.
Manuel Neuer (Samrin Hasib's Rank: 7 | Aggregate: 2) – Its time to take out the sofa and the TV remote- Neuer is keeping again and he needs a TV! Well, Neuer really has very little to do, especially since Bayern has moved towards possession based football mixed with some Heynckes football. The thing is, Neuer has very few saves to make. This makes the defenders who are in front of him who make the last ditch tackles more important and hence more valuable to the team. All being said and done though, Neuer is still the best keeper in the world and does make the most unbelievable of saves. He is incredibly valuable to the team.
Jérôme Boateng (Philipp Quinn's Rank: 5 | Aggregate: 10) – While Dante has been up and down (To be fair to Dante, he was clearly on the "up" trajectory before his injury.), Boateng was playing some fantastic football week in and week out. He was the anchor of the defense while everyone was getting used to Pep Guardiola's new system and schemes. As Dante returns to last season's form and Philipp Lahm migrates back to right back, Boateng's importance to the team won't be as high as it is now.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Davis VanOpdorp's Rank: 17 | Aggregate: 13) – Shaqiri's injury has already revealed one thing: other players can do what he does. Götze, while right-footed, is a better second-option behind Robben even when Shaqiri's healthy. Müller, while a different player, is arguably better on the wing than in the middle as it is, and pushed Robben to the bench for much of last year even when the Dutchman got fit. While maybe not a primary option there, Thiago played left wing for the Spain U21 European Champions. Shaqiri is young, he is energetic, he is stocky, and he is the future, but right now he is a superfluous piece in a stacked squad.
Thiago was the talk of the town in the preseason, his Xavi/Fábregas -esque passing electrifying the Telekom Cup. He played 87 Bundesliga minutes before tearing his syndesmosis. While still on the mend, he could be back in time to solidify the midfield depth, and make an increase to the BFW Squad Ranking.
Provide your own 20 Squad Ranking, and compare it to what each of the BFW writers think!