A year where injuries and depth were the main storylines, one can say it all started with Javi Martínez. His unfortunate ACL tear in the DFL Supercup commenced a season of fitness misfortune and squad headaches for Bayern Munich. His absence was prolonged, but still impact the club throughout the season. With two years left on his deal, the hope is he can return from his fitness issues stronger than he was before.
His Season Performance
A season after moving back to defense under Pep Guardiola, Martínez was not only looking like a strong defensive option, but as a system-changing flexible defensive chess piece. Bayern had such confidence in him that it wasn't until his injury that the club pursued Mehdi Benatia and Xabi Alonso as replacements. Instead, a clumsy collision with Marcel Schmelzer will define his 2014/15 season, missing eight months with an ACL tear.
Upon his return, Martínez made only two appearances, one start against Bayer Leverkusen the week after Bayern clinched the title and one four minute cup of tea in the second half of the second leg against Barcelona. His narrative will be forever trapped in the preseason, allowing Guardiola to dream of a future where Bayern returned to a three-back system.
Next Season's Potential
Bayern's central defense experienced a lot of fitness issues throughout the season, and only few were spared from the injury bug. Martínez will be integral to their depth, although with major injuries in each of the last two seasons, one has to wonder if he can ever manage to play over 3000 minutes again. As long as he remains under Guardiola's guidance, Martínez has the potential to be a defensive piece that transforms the way Bayern defends. As a 26-year-old with two years left on his deal, next season will be very important to his career.