Mario Mandzukic scored a lot of goals for Bayern Munich last season

Ronny Hartmann

When Bayern Munich sells Mario Gomez in favor of you, you had better score goals.

Goals Assists
26 10

Mario Mandzukic has made quite a name for himself following his move to Bayern. He has been a fantastic servant, at least outwardly, in his two seasons at the club. Pep Guardiola's reputation when it comes to handling strikers, especially the ones with high opinions of themselves, is not exactly a good one. Thus, Mandzukic had to prove himself. There were quite a few matches where he started on the bench, but Pep had to bring him on to get Bayern going. The one game for me which defined what Mandzukic does for Bayern is a crucial match against Viktoria Plzen on match day four in the UEFA Champions League. Within minutes of coming on, he scored the goal which sent Bayern to a Round of 16 meeting against Arsenal.

Touches/90 Pass % Back Zone Pass % Forward Zone Pass %
41.91 69% 88% 65%

Guardiola did start Mandzukic in the majority of matches though, and Mario kept Bayern going, scoring the opener in quite a few of them. What happened later in the season between him and Guardiola will forever remain behind closed doors. Mandzukic, despite his obvious doggedness, did not really have any publicized issues with coaches before, whereas Pep did with players. Whether Mandzukic is to blame is up in the air too because the club will obviously try to protect the coach and not a player who is only in his second season with the club, unless his name is Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Pep enjoys discipline; he does not enjoy dealing with personalities who do not accept him openly. He is not quite the man-manager Jupp Heynckes was last season. Thus, Mandzukic's time at Bayern has perhaps come to an end.

Shots/90 KP+Assists/90 Duel % Aerial Duel %
3.21 2.64 46% 49%
Tackles/90 Int/90 Recoveries/90 Clearances/90
0.91 0.33 0.81 0.57

Few can deny the fact that the Croat wears his heart on his sleeve and gives everything for the team. His anger in being left out of the DFB Pokal finale is understandable. The fact that he went back to Croatia tells me that he was hurt by this exclusion. He perhaps should have stayed back to celebrate; but, I do believe, celebrating when one is in a dour mood is often a highly difficult task. In terms of what he can improve in the highly unlikely possibility that he is still wearing Bayern red next season, I would start with his attitude. He can learn to be more accepting perhaps; aside from that, he can try to be a bit more involved in some games where he tends to be a passenger from time to time.

When it mattered, he scored. Mario Mandzukic deserves applause for his goals.

Grade 2013-2014: A
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