Coming up empty in all three major competitions, Bayern München were once again aggressive in the transfer market, fortifying the positions they had upgraded a year ago. They continued to open the check book for the players they felt they needed, but also began the process of bargain hunting to fill in the cracks in depth.
They had a change in the front office as well, Matthias Sammer replacing Christian Nerlinger as Bayern's sporting director. Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge remained at the forefront of transfer moves, and perhaps were key in some of the completions of transfers that were more difficult.
Having made it to the final of two competitions, some of the best moves were ones with low price tags. Bayern found players that fit perfectly into Jupp Heynckes's system, and some rose above their pedestrian careers to have an outstanding year. Since many of the players departing were on the wrong side of 30, 2012 was the window where Bayern's depth increased to the best in Europe.
Ironically, many of these transfers are now looking for work elsewhere with the quality in the side so high. With the way many of these players have performed, Bayern will profit greatly from those who want to leave.
Dante Bonfim Costa Santos (€4.7 million, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
In 2012, Bayern's defensive depth was dwindling quickly. If Breno's arrest was not enough, Daniel van Buyten's foot injury left Heynckes with just Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber as natural center backs. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk was transformed into a center back option, and it was he that played next to Boateng in the Champions League final. No one could blame Bayern for activating a 28-year-old's €4.7 million buyout clause to bring him from Mönchengladbach.
Dante was a body in defense that turned into an upgrade, becoming one of the first names on Heynckes's team sheet as Bayern soured to unthinkable heights. Badstuber's injury became a footnote in Bayern's most successful season, and Daniel van Buyten and Jerome Boateng found themselves battling each other for a spot. Even though his second season at Bayern was not as good as his first, he nonetheless earned a one-year contract extension, and he earned a World Cup spot with the Seleçao in his home country.
Mario Mandžukić (€13 million, VfL Wolfsburg)
Mandžukić's club statistics were not daunting at the time, having scored 20 goals in 56 matches with Wolfsburg, but his performance with Croatia at the UEFA European Championship was opening some eyes. He was reportedly making just €1.7 million annually with Wolfsburg after his €7 million transfer from Dinamo Zagreb, and rumors surfaced that he was not happy with his contract. In swooped Bayern, who was already set to lose Olic on a free transfer, giving him a four-year contract.
Little did Bayern know that they had just bought Mario Gómez's replacement. Gómez suffered an ankle injury the following August, and Heynckes had to rely on Mandžukić to fill the void. He scored eight goals in Bayern's first nine matches as the club won eight consecutive times before losing to Bayer Leverkusen. When Gómez returned, Mandžukić had a firm hold on the spot up top, and Gómez turned into a bystander as part of Bayern's treble run.
Javier Martínez Aginaga (€40 million, Athletic Bilbao)
He was coming of as season where he was playing both holding midfield and center back for a Europa League finalist. The sticker price was not the one that Bayern wanted to pay, but Athletic Bilbao would not accept a euro less than the €40 million buyout clause. As a result, the 23-year-old Martínez became the most expensive transfer ever to come to Germany.
Martínez slotted immediately next to Bastian Schweinsteiger in holding midfield, creating perhaps the most physical midfield pair in all of Europe. The Heynckes-to-Guardiola system change has not suited him well so far, and he has gotten extended looks at center back as a way to keep him on the field. Martínez's positional and club future are now up in the air, but the three remaining years on his deal gives him plenty of time to be more than a footnote in Bayern's future plans.
Claudio Pizarro (Free Transfer, SV Werder Bremen)
At age 33, Pizarro was at a bit of a crossroads in his career. He could either be a primary piece in a lesser side or a lesser piece in a major side. Ultimately he chose to return to one of his former clubs on a one-year deal, and has become a valuable veteran vigilante in a squad stuffed to the brim with talent.
He may just be a rusty screw in the Bayern machine, but a screw that is sturdy to be too important to remove. He is not just the king of garbage time, but he has also stepped up in big situations to give Bayern an extra leader on the pitch. Pizarro's future might be sequential one-year contracts, but the arrangement is one that he appears to have accepted as he rides off into the sunset.
Lukas Raeder (Free Transfer, Schalke 04 U19)
Part of Bayern's reserve goalkeeper transition was to replace Rouven Sattelmaier, allegedly Bayern's third-choice goalkeeper, with Raeder. Behind both Ralf Fährmann and Lars Unnerstall in Schalke's pecking order, Raeder, 18 years old at the time, signed a two year professional contract with Bayern to become the third option behind Neuer and Starke.
Raeder suffered an ACL injury after just eight matches into Bayern II's season, not returning to action until after the winter break. He has spent a majority of his career in the Regionalliga Bayern, nearly aiding them to promotion before an unfortunate error gave Fortuna Köln the necessary away goal to secure promotion. He was able to get three shifts of first team action when Neuer and Starke went down with injuries, allowing four goals in three games and securing two victories. Now his contract is up, and he may need to find another club if he wants to graduate to full first-team duty.
Xherdan Shaqiri (€11.8 million, FC Basel)
If his performances as a teenager with Basel and the Swiss Youth System was not enough to convince Bayern to invest in him, Shaqiri's two assist performance to knock Champions League finalist Manchester United into the Europa League certainly was. At just 20 years old, Shaqiri was already showing flashes of his greatness. With a squad filled with players in their late 20's, the investment Bayern made in Shaqiri was surely a move that was beyond the 2012/13 season.
His contributions in his first season were impressive though. Heynckes gave him plenty of work, Shaqiri making 38 appearances over Bayern's three competitions, and he dazzled with eight goals and 13 assists. He struggled with his fitness in his second, suffering three thigh injuries that wiped out more than half of his season. As he has come of age, his thirst for playing time has outgrown Bayern's supply, and his continued development into a world class player might come at another club.
Tom Starke (Free Transfer, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)
He started all but two of Hoffenheim's matches, but with Tim Wiese signing a four-year contract, Starke had to find a different destination to continue his career. Bayern were on the verge of losing Hans-Jörg Butt to retirement, and without a backup in sight, they reached a three-year contract with Starke to bring him to Bavaria for the first time of his career.
The backup to Manuel Neuer, Starke's impact has been minimal thus far, but Bayern have not required his impact to be any greater. He has been serviceable in the opportunities he has taken, Bayern only losing one match that he has started – the 2013 DFL Supercup. With one year left on his deal, Starke has expressed his desire to stay, but Bayern might look elsewhere for a Neuer insurance policy.
Mitchell Weiser (€800,000, 1. FC Köln U19)
Weiser was a talent that Bayern could not ignore. He scored six goals as a right attacker for Köln's U19 team after fullbacking Germany's U17 team that helped the Germany U17 team win the U17 European Cup. When Bayern came calling in May of 2011, Weiser jumped at the chance to move south, signing a 3-year contract.
His only contributions to the first team was an 11 minute shift in the second round of the DFB Pokal, and he played mostly in defense in his nine appearances with the reserves. His flashes of potential earned him a loan to 1. FC Kaiserslautern for the Rückrunde of 2013, where he played mostly on the right flank of attack.
Transfer Windows Past
Transfer Windows Past
Breno Vinicius Rodrigues Borges (Personal Issues)
Breno was the second player Bayern had ever purchased directly from the Brazilian Serie A, and he was the most expensive transfer the club have ever had from a South American club. Breno was set to be one of the four center back options for Heynckes's first Bayern team until he was arrested in that September for burning down his villa.
He eventually was sentenced to three and a half years in jail, and per German law, he was to be deported back to Brazil following his jail sentence. He was granted day-release from jail in the summer of 2013, during which time he has worked as a reserve trainer. He also signed an agreement to return to FC São Paolo once he is deported back to Brazil, his contract running until 2015.
Hans Jörg Butt (Retirement)
He was not around long, but he bridged the gap between two generations of great Bayern and German goalkeepers. Bayern convinced him to spend one more year at the club before he packed away his goalkeeper gloves for good, and he obliged by signing a one-year contract extension. Heynckes gave him a farewell match against VfB Stuttgart, when the title was already out of reach, but it was a classic gesture nonetheless. He will not be the first goalkeeper that Bayern fans will identify with, but he was a loyal servant to Bayern that should be appreciated for his efforts.
Nils Petersen (Loan, SV Werder Bremen)
Barely getting a sniff with the first team after transferring from Energie Cottbus, Petersen and his agent, Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten, were craving a move of some kind. Once Mandzukic completed his transfer from Wolfsburg, Petersen was sent out on loan to Werder Bremen, joining Marko Arnautovic in Bremen's attack.
Petersen got exactly what he was looking for, Thomas Schaff starting him in all but three Bundesliga games the Grünweißen. His 11 goals was tied for 12th in the Bundesliga, matching Gómez's production with Bayern. He remained the one young hope for a Bremen team that was withering away into German irrelevancy.
Danijel Pranjić (Free Transfer, Sporting Lisbon)
Supposed to go to Everton in the January window, no player wanted to leave Bayern faster than Danijel Pranjic. He made just 14 appearances with Bayern in all competitions, most of which came in meaningless matches. He ended up with a one-year contract with Sporting Lisbon.
He made 18 appearances for Sporting in the Europa League, Portuguese Primeira Liga, and both the league and Portuguese cup. He then left on loan to Celta Vigo in the January window, unable to get consistent minutes. After his contract expired with Sporting, he signed a two-year deal with Panathinaikos Athens in the Greek Super League, making 32 appearances in the 2013/14 season. He has also stayed relevant in the Croatian national team, playing as a fullback for Niko Kovac in the World Cup.
Ivica Olić (Free Transfer, VfL Wolfsburg)
Even with five months left on his contract, Olic was receiving intrigue from Wolfsburg. To that point, he had made just one start against Manchester City when Bayern were already into the Round of 16 of the Champions League. Bayern were not going to offer him the two-year deal he received from Wolfsburg, and thus the Croatian left to make way for another six years younger than him.
Olic went on to receive more work in his first season at Wolfsburg than he did during the years Gómez was roaming the penalty area. He has scored 25 goals in just two years, and Wolfsburg has steadily climbed the table because of it. He has since received a two-year contract extension, and was critical in Croatia's qualification for the World Cup.
Takashi Usami (Loan Return, Gamba Osaka)
Whatever experiment Christian Nerlinger was attempting by bringing Usami to Bayern did not work too well. He managed to get only five appearances with the first team, spending most of his time with the reserves. He scored six goals in the Regionalliga, playing mostly as a right winger. Bayern elected not to activate the purchase option in the loan agreement, and he was loaned to Hoffenheim before Gamba Osaka took him back.
Before Mandžukić completed his move to Bavaria, Bayern were after a different striker with Wolfsburg roots: Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian was just a year removed from a €37 million transfer to Manchester City, and he had impressed in his first season after scoring 19 goals in all competitions. Even with Sergio Agüero, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez in the side, Bayern were not able to abscond with a second Citizens purchase a year after he leaves the Bundesliga, and their pursuit ended once they became keen on Mandžukić. Olivier Giroud, who had interest into a move from Bayern, was also a target, but he transferred to Arsenal for €12 million instead.
It also seemed that Bayern were after a holding midfielder as well, and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender was another German talent they were hoping to bring to Munich. Sport director Rudi Voller, trying to fend of Chelsea from poaching Andre Schürrle as well, refused to sell him, saying that Bender and Schürrle were worth €50 million each. Ultimately Bayern ponied up the cash for Martínez, and Bender has stayed with Leverkusen since.
Sammer was keen on bringing an 18-year-old Karlsruher playmaker named Hakan Calhanoglu to Bayern, a player Bayern was linked with this summer. Calhanoglu signed instead with Hamburg SV on a €2.5 million transfer before going back to Karlsruher on loan, former manager Thorsten Fink hoping he would become the eventual replacement for Rafael van der Vaart.
Professional Contracts to Youth Players
Can was the next part of Bayern's youth revolution, a youth product that Bayern pilfered from Eintracht Frankfurt's youth system. He was already the captain of the U17 German team that won the UEFA U17 European Championship, and was getting regular minutes with the reserves as a 17-year-old. He signed a contract until 2016, and Heynckes wanted him to be a contributor to his team. He made four appearances and two starts after Bayern secured the Bundesliga title, playing in the middle and on the flanks.
He was part of a Bayern U19 team that reached the final of the German U19 championship, yet his surface potential was still know, scoring just five goals in 25 appearances. The teenager who switched from TSV 1860 München's to Bayern's a year before received a two-year professional contract, and moved up to the reserves the next year. Even though his contributions were a little more prevalent with the reserves, he never made an appearance with the first team, although he was invited to Bayern's winter training camp in Qatar. He is now out of contract, and at 20-years-old, his future remains very much up in the air.