Assessing Bayern Munich Playing Time with the addition of Thiago Alcantara

Who'ya gonna choose? - Pier Marco Tacca

Thiago Alcantara has joined Bayern Munich on a transfer from FC Barcelona. His arrival is sure to impact the playing time for some of the stalwarts on the Bayern squad, but how much of an impact is it?

With days of brewing whisperings surrounding the transfer of 22 year old Spanish international Thiago Alcantara from FC Barcelona to FC Bayern on a relatively inexpensive transfer for the future of the Spanish national team. With calls of joy from some quarters to anger in others, the reaction to the original rumors, were varied and showcased the diverse plurality of opinions on the needs of the treble winning FC Bayern squad. Dissent has commonly come in the form of the question, how is everyone on this Bayern team, supposed to see pitch time and still remain happy? Are there enough minutes to go around if you bring in Alcantara? To that end, let's delve into the mathematics of Bayern playing time in the upcoming season.

The 2013/2014 FC Bayern Munich schedule breaks down in the following manner assuming they win the sextuple:

  • 34 Bundesliga matches
  • 13 UEFA Champions League matches
  • 6 DFB Pokal matches
  • 2 FIFA Club World Cup matches
  • UEFA SuperCup
  • DFL SuperCup

57 matches in totality.

Now, let's assume that Bayern plays a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, and uses 2 substitutions for its 4 attacking players in every match of this season at the 60th minute. While there are obvious caveats to this decision, it gives us a good place to split the minutes that is true to most game situations, that also makes the math easy. Let's equally split this time among all of the main attacking players on this squad.

90'

60'

30'

Total

Mandzukic

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

Goetze

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

Muller

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

Kroos

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

Ribery

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

Robben

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

Shaqiri

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

Pizarro

641.25

1282.5

641.25

2565

20520

As we can see, without adding Thiago Alcantara to the team equally splitting playing time for all players on this squad, gives everyone a little more than 2500 minutes on the field. Of course, we shouldn't expect every player on this list to get equal playing time because 33-year old squad depth piece Claudio Pizarro is on this list. So, let us re-split this time, and give Pizarro half duty.

90'

60'

30'

Total

Mandzukic

1374.11

916.071

458.036

2748.21

Goetze

1374.11

916.071

458.036

2748.21

Muller

1374.11

916.071

458.036

2748.21

Kroos

1374.11

916.071

458.036

2748.21

Ribery

1374.11

916.071

458.036

2748.21

Robben

1374.11

916.071

458.036

2748.21

Shaqiri

1374.11

916.071

458.036

2748.21

Pizarro

641.25

427.5

213.75

1282.5

20520

Now, we're looking at every player earning a little over 2700 minutes, a very respectable amount of minutes.

With that in mind, let's add Thiago Alcantara into the mixture, with Pizarro playing half time.

90'

60'

30'

Total

Mandzukic

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Goetze

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Muller

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Kroos

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Ribery

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Robben

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Shaqiri

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Alcantara

1211.25

807.5

403.75

2422.5

Pizarro

570

380

190

1140

20520

Every player on the Bayern squad in this simulation plays a little more than 2400 minutes, or 26 starts and 13 substitutions appearances, for 39 appearances during the season. While that may seem a little severe of a downgrade in terms of playing time for the attacking band, especially for a formula that doesn't include any youth attacking development time. To that end, let's even expand this farther, and bring in youth development time. In this case, I assume that youth development will sit at be ¼ time, while still assuming Pizarro plays half time.

90'

60'

30'

Mandzukic

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Goetze

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Muller

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Kroos

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Ribery

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Robben

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Shaqiri

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Alcantara

1148.91

765.938

382.969

2297.81

Pizarro

427.5

285

142.5

855

Weihrauch

213.75

142.5

71.25

427.5

Wesier

213.75

142.5

71.25

427.5

Hojbjerg

213.75

142.5

71.25

427.5

20520

In this, we see reduction to 2300 minutes for the attacking players, while the youth players show up at 500 minutes, and Pizarro clings to 800+ minutes of playing time.

So, how does this compare to last season's treble performance? How were the attacking band's minutes allocated?

UCL

Bundesliga

Pokal

SuperCup

Total

Mandzukic

720

1742

308

90

2860

Gomez

201

876

133

0

1210

Muller

1045

2095

339

90

3569

Kroos

591

1923

253

90

2857

Ribery

853

2113

183

81

3230

Robben

731

984

412

86

2213

Pizarro

248

745

99

0

1092

Shaqiri

209

1368

314

4

1895

As we can see, adding Thiago basically just reduces the outrageous amount of playing time Thomas Muller earned last year under Jupp Heynckes, along with bringing down the minutes for 30 year old Frank Ribery. Adding Alcantara and assuming consistent squad rotation, along with youth development, drops a few appearances over a year for players like Kroos or Robben, while benefiting Shaqiri while allowing Frank Ribery the luxury of being rested as he ages. Of course, the reduction in Thomas Muller's playing time is a crime against humanity, and an attack on our pursuit of happiness. Considering Thomas Muller played in excess of 3900 minutes in the 2011/2012 season as well, we should keep our eyes on what happens with Thomas Muller's playing time given the absolute workhorse he has been the last few years.

Obviously, there are some caveots we should talk about. First, this doesn't include time for players like David Alaba or Emre Can who are normally defensive players who do step into attacking positions occasionally, nor does it include time playing in defense for players like Toni Kroos or Thiago. Also, it's built around Guardiola using a system with 4 attacking players while so far this year, he has used a 4-1-4-1 system which utilizes 5 attacking players, rather than the four, and this has a dramatic impact, increasing the minutes per season to almost 2900.

What do you think? Is 2300 minutes a season enough for some of the best players on the planet?

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