This news came over the wires last week, but we already had our hands full. It has been confirmed that CB Dante Bonfim Costa Santos, who has played with Borussia Monchengladbach for the past three seasons, and has distinguished himself through with his high energy level and his shut-down performances of several opposing strikers, will join FC Bayern next season.So, the first question is whether or not he's immediately thrust into the starting line-up. I'm not so sure he is ... Badstuber and Boateng have been playing very well lately, and if they continue to play well, they might be the starting duo for the biggest games. A few months ago, I might have said that moving Boateng to FB and letting Badstuber + Dante play in the middle would be best, but with Alaba and Lahm playing so well on either corner, that's not going to be our first choice (though it's still an option). The most likely scenario is that Dante, Holger and JB go into the season as an "open competition," with the best two starting and the third getting heavy use as a back-up.
In the end, I don't really think it matters all that much who starts, because all of them will definitely get plenty of burn. We were thin last year in the back line even before van Buyten went down. After his injury, we basically have no cover on the defensive end of the field, as we're seeing in the upcoming CL final, where converted midfielders are going to have to play as defenders. The addition of Dante means that we'll have three very good CBs who can play in any combination. With van Buyten also extending his deal, we have a fourth who's also pretty good and who can go up against the strong, slow, lumbering forwards. Even if one of them gets injured, we will still have some cover. This is a huge step up from this season.
There were new rumors that Benedikt Howedes was being looked at, but with Dante and van Buyten both agreeing to terms, that looks unlikely. Having four good CBs is a good decision and leaves us insured against injury or fatigue, but having five would certainly lead to a bit of grumbling over playing time. So let's welcome Dante to Bayern, and welcome DVB back. It's unclear whether Daniel could be ready in time for the CL final, but I have to think that's really unlikely. There's no way they'd be able to throw him out there without any match practice, so he'd really want to be ready by this weekend to try to get some full-speed work in.
Back with more later - Robben is threatening to leave, and I don't know that I can truly blame him this time. Nothing confirmed yet, you. Stay tuned to our twitter feed at http://twitter.com/bayern_offside to be kept up to date. Thanks for reading.