As Bayern Munich prepares for the stretch run of April and May, now is a good time to see how the team selections could line up for the rest of the season. If you have read this blog before, you know the way Bavarian Football Works figures that out is through our squad rankings.
Some names at the top and bottom may seem obvious, but the evolution of the season continuously make these ranks truly unpredictable. Who knew going into the season Pepe Reina's presence could fade the shine off of Manuel Neuer's irreplaceability? Or Guardiola's constant selection of Juan Bernat makes him the most important of all the "substitute" players? BFW has attempted to remove the bias from our rankings by aggregating the rankings of its editors. For April, here is what we came up with:
Thomas Müller (Ryan Cowper's Rank: 11 | Aggregate: 6) – When you look around the Bayern attacking lineup, there is a clear space for every Bayern attacking player. They each fulfill a clear role in the team setup and then you get to Müller. What Müller brings to each game might be beyond measure, but he's also the most enigmatic players on this team. Some games, he's the unquestionable cog of this entire side and then he disappears for several games as his abilities get overshadowed by the cog like nature of his various attacking counterparts. For that reason, I choose to drop Müller in my rankings despite the fact that when Thomas Müller is the focus, he can be the key player on this team.
Mario Götze (Phillip Quinn's Rank: 11 | Aggregate: 10) – For my money, Götze will always be a little superfluous for Bayern Munich's needs when everyone is healthy. As you saw with Robben and Ribéry healthy, Götze was relegated to a substitute role. Will he have an important role to play in the remainder of Bayern's season? Of course, he will. However, Götze remains the least important attacking player in this year's Bayern team.
David Alaba (Davis VanOpdorp's Rank: 6 | Aggregate: 2) – His raw skills need no praise, and his free kick ability is best on the team, but is he one of the driving forces on the team? Alaba is certainly one of the first names on the team sheet, and Guardiola appears more keen to find him a spot rather than Juan Bernat. That said, he is not an orchestrator of attack or finisher of chances like the players above him are. His ability to win the ball in midfield is unlike any other in Europe, but Bayern have several other players who win the ball well too. Certainly his absence will be a burden on the squad, but how heavy that burden is depends on how much Bayern's personnel can fill his absence.
Attempting to return from knee troubles, Thiago Alcântara now has the task of breaking into a very competitive Bayern midfield. A year ago, he combined with Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm to create the best ball-possession midfield combination in Europe. Now that Kroos is in Madrid, Thiago could become the chief distributor in Bayern's midfield, especially with countryman Xabi Alonso as a mentor. The process of his return will take time, but he is certainly a player who could quickly rise up the ranks.