The Toni Kroos Blues; What's Next for Bayern?

Kroos's challenge on Lichtsteiner that may have ended his season. - Joern Pollex

Toni Kroos has a torn adductor muscle (groin) and will miss 6-8 weeks. For most teams, losing a 23-year-old with his résumé would be a huge blow to moral, but most teams aren't FC Bayern München.

It was the 14th minute. It looked like just a harmless challenge on Juventus midfielder Stephan Lichtsteiner. Just a simple challenge for the ball in Bayern's half turned into an unfortunate 6-8 week injury to an important player.

He may not be the fastest and may not be the first name one thinks of when FC Bayern Munich comes up in conversation, but his free-kick ability and his skill with the ball will surely leave a hole.

Isn't this something that Bayern prepared for though? Providing depth in an already stacked midfield? That would surely explain an €11.8 million bid on Xherdan Shaqiri, and a €40 million bid on Javi Martinez (well, maybe they just got them because they were good, young players, but bear with me).

This is something Matthias Sammer and Karl Heinz Rummenigge prepared for last summer. Injuries in any sport are 90% of the time unpredictable, and Bayern made sure that their coat tails were covered coming into this campaign.

The immediate solution be as simple as what happened against Juventus; Arjen Robben would slide right into the starting line-up, and considering his recent form, the transition will probably be seamless. Robben could start on the right, moving Müller into the center of the attack, or visa versa. To be honest, by the time the game gets to the 15th minute or so, Robben, Müller, and Franck Ribéry move all around, with the Frenchman staying on the left more often than not.

It is worth noting, though, that Schweinsteiger has already joined the attack this year, and Claudio Pizarro has joined Mario Mandžukić in the attack this year as well. Kroos's injury could become opportunity for Shaqiri, though, as the stocky midfiedler could see his minutes increase, especially after his performance against Hamburger SV.

The door could also open for Schweinsteiger to take more free-kicks in Kroos's stead, and Phillip Lahm might see his corner kicks increase as well.

The big negative I see in motion play with the absence of Kroos is Bayern's ability to hold up the ball on the attack, which Kroos, with his astounding and understated dribbling ability, does extremely well. Unless my eyes deceive me, Robben does not hold the ball up as well, and as strong as Shaqiri is, neither does he.

Although, yellow card tallies have become much more important. Luckily, after match bans, Schweinsteiger and Martinez are in the clear (for now) when it comes to the Champions League. However, Luis Gustavo, needs one more to get a match ban, which will make the depth a little thinner.

All in all, the Kroos loss was sad to see, especially as a hardworking, homegrown player who is also on the German National Team. Bayern's depth will be tested, but it is a test that they can pass.

What do you think? Who do you think Kroos's injury affects the most?

Go ahead and vote! Thanks for reading.

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