Now Bayern Munich are entering the pinnacle of their season. The Rekordmeister has retained one of their trophies, while the other will have to wait until next season. They are entering the final stretch of their Champions League run, so the time has come to revisit our squad rankings.
Each editor chooses the top 20 players they would consider when fielding a team against the top opponents. The factors they chose are tailored to his preferences, but the ultimate aggregate displaces some of the subjectivity to create an objective squad list. Without further ado, here is the Bayern squad rankings for the month of May:
= rank increase
= rank decrease
"–" = not ranked
His return from injury came at a crucial time for Bayern, and he has taken hold of the play making role in the center of the park. Other injuries have opened and opportunity for him, to the point where he is one of the first names on the team sheet. His ability to pick out a pass will be imperative for Bayern making it through the final stages of the Champions League.
His dramatic fall after his heralded rise encompasses the tragedy of his fitness issues. Now officially out for the season, his rank reflects how Bayern will have to find a way to cope without him. The hope at this point is he can extrapolate the success he had this season into another campaign next season.
Rafinha (Ryan Cowper's Rank: 3 | Aggregate: 6) – Rafinha has quietly turned into one of the the most important defenders on Bayern's team. Ever since the injury to David Alaba, Rafinha's place on the right side of defense has become more tactically varied and important, and Bayern has relied on building play through him on that side of the field while Jérôme Boateng and Holger Badstuber occupy the center and the left. Now with Badstuber out for the season, Rafinha has shifted to the left side of the field, pushing play forward as Medhi Benatia has come back. Rafinha has carved out a role for himself as the most tactically astute player remaining on this defensive corps, and he is the glue that is holding Pep Guardiola's tactical vision in the back together.
Robert Lewandowski (Phillip Quinn's Rank: 2 | Aggregate: 4) – With the season coming to end and the most important games in front of Bayern, it is imperative for Robert Lewandowski to be as close as possible to his regular self. His presence should be enough to distract the Barcelona defense in order to allow Thomas Müller to find easier routes to the goal. It's crunch time. Bayern need Lewandowski to be really, really good to win trophies.
Franck Ribéry (Davis VanOpdorp's Rank: 11 | Aggregate: 16) – The Frenchman's return is indefinite, but he has yet to be ruled out for the season. The slim possibility he could return in May makes him an important player in the squad for me. He can completely transform Bayern's attack, and even 80 percent of what he offers is better than the alternatives on the left flank at the moment. He gutted through a performance in the DFB-Pokal final last year, and my money is on him being able to do so again should Guardiola require him to.
Making his first start at the weekend, Javi Martínez could provide much-needed relief to the defense. Bayern possess only two center backs who have not missed a match due to injury this season. If Martínez can regain his form quickly, he will be a top choice for Guardiola as the season comes to a close.