Seeing Thiago Alcântara in the lineup in Saturday's derby against 1. FC Nürnberg was a surprise. Pep Guardiola, with his depth, looked to get the young Spaniard on the teamsheet for his first Bundesliga start.
The result ended up being less than ideal.
The 22-year-old had to leave the pitch in the 62nd minute after sustaining what looked to be a right foot injury at first. Thomas Müller was the one that came off the bench as Thiago went to the locker room.
Afterwards, Team doctor Dr. Heinz-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfarth diagnosed the youngster with a torn right syndesmosis, a tendon sheath that crosses over the the ankle and the foot.
Thiago will have to undergo surgery on Monday, and could be out of action for seven weeks.
Ironic, how just a week and a half after FC Bayern transferred Luiz Gustavo to VfL Wolfsburg, die Roten have to now deal with a little less depth than before. That being said, consider that they have seven to nine options – Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, Xherdan Shaqiri, Müller, Mario Götze, Toni Kroos, Claudio Pizarro and the occasional Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javier Martinez – to play in the front four of the 4-1-4-1, the squad depth looks less depleted and more open to opportunity.
Could this end up being a blessing in disguise? It is never good to see a player go down with an injury, and to wish an injury on a player is satanic. Conversely, the injury to Thiago could very well clear a path for more players getting first-team minutes. Also consider the fact that Thiago's ankle injury came in a timely fashion – timely in the sense that came in conjunction with Götze's return.
We all watched in amazement as Robben took the most of his opportunity when Toni Kroos was taken out of action. One could argue that Robben's rise was a crucial narrative to FC Bayern's raise of the Champions League trophy last May.
Could this injury solve more problems than it causes? With a busy week ahead, the rotations Guardiola institutes after a big blow to a big transfer could give the answer.