Meet FC Bayern München three center backs: Dante, Jérôme Boateng, and Daniel van Buyten. All three play for club and country, all three have competed in multiple leagues in Europe, and all three of their games are as unique as their individual hairstyles.
The three have also combined for 4,254 minutes at center back for FC Bayern, 90.9 percent of the 4,680 available minutes in the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, and UEFA Champions League.
Only one has missed time due to injury, when Dante missed a week and a half after a laceration in his ankle. The only other to start as a center back is Diego Contento, when FC Bayern snuck out of the Czech Republic with a 1-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen.
Jan Kirchhoff, the Rekordmeister's 6-foot-4 free transfer acquisition from 1. FSV Mainz 05, is now off to FC Schalke 04 on a year and half loan after not finding the minutes he was looking for. Holger Badstuber, despite optimism towards his training, will "still take a while" to get back to full fitness, according to FC Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
With still minimal depth, the Dante-Boateng-van Buyten show is renewed for the spring season, possibly with a few returning cameos of Javier Martínez and Contento. The only way the show format will change is if Rummenigge recants his desire not to spend money.
"There was already one conversation, and in a short time it will become concrete again," Ginter told Sport Bild.
Ginter has started every Freiburg match but one, plying most of his trade in central defense with a few spots in midfield on his résumé. The 19-year-old is also part of the German U21 team, including three matches in the UEFA U21 Championship in Israel.
With rumors continuing to swirl around, like those involving Ginter and Inigo Martinez, the question now becomes whether or not FC Bayern require another central defender. While the three amigos have done the job for the most part during the first of half of the treble-defense, the defense might be in need of some assistance during the possible 28 matches over the next four months in a World Cup year.
Part of the equation is van Buyten's contract. FC Bayern have yet to express a distinct desire to extend the Belgium international beyond his June 2014 expiration date, especially since the 6-foot-5 defender will be 36 in February.
By the same token, if FC Bayern felt that they were desperate in defense, would Rummenigge and Sport Director Matthias Sammer have let Jan Kirchhoff go for a year and a half? The same questions rose when FC Bayern relinquished Luis Gustavo and Emre Can on separate transfers, and yet the defense seemed deeper than the midfield a times during the hinrunde of the campaign.
Dante, Boateng and van Buyten shouldered most of the load towards the first treble last season, and while the feat is extremely difficult to repeat, it is not out of the realm of possibility for the trio to do so again. While injuries always leave doors open, a deep roster that stays healthy sometimes causes more problems than it solves.
Perhaps the solution might come more from the tactics than the personnel. With Martínez and the return of Bastian Schweinsteiger, along with his new-found midfielder Philipp Lahm, Guardiola has the quality pieces to assist the defense in the midfield that many top clubs do not.
While the depth might be thin, the Dante-Boateng-van Buyten show will be the one everyone will have to watch, and a fourth musketeer will be hard to see.