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Douglas Costa is probably not the dirty player Bayern Munich fans think he is

Douglas Costa didn't leave Bayern fans with a good memory after the Champions League matches with Shaktar Donetsk this season. But he's likely not the dirty player people make him out to be.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

At this point, it's more likely than not that Douglas Costa will be in Bayern Munich red next season. Multiple reports are noting that it's just dotting the i's and crossing the t's that's left to bring the Brazilian international to Säbener Straße.

But Douglas Costa comes to Bayern Munich with a reputation that's sure to make his battle to win hearts and minds an uphill one. When Bayern Munich faced Shaktar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League earlier this year, many Bayern fans left that match with an opinion of Costa that ranged from "dirty" to more aggressive, sometimes expletive laden, terms.

And Costa earned that distinction from Bayern Munich fans. He committed five fouls over both legs, earning two yellow cards and was an aggressive nuisance for the entire tie.

The other six games he played in the Champions League last season? He averaged one foul per game. Dig a little deeper than that and in over 2200 minutes last season for Donetsk, Costa only earned five yellow cards -- with two coming against Bayern as mentioned above.

In fact looking back at his performance over the previous two seasons in the Champions League, Costa only commits on average 1.6 fouls per game. Looking at his disciplinary record, he only earned four yellow cards across all competitions over that time span as well. Even on the offensive side of the ball, Costa doesn't come across as particularly dirty drawing a little over a foul and a half per game.

And all those marks are on equal footing with what Franck Ribery has done in his Bayern Munich tenure. While Ribery is certainly a hot head with a penchant for being extremely aggressive when provoked or antagonized, most of the time he's not a dirty player in the slightest despite the assertions of fans around Europe.

Of course, there's the distinction that not all fouls are created equal and that's an important caveat to understand how dirty a player is. And I certainly haven't watched enough of Douglas Costa to unequivocally frame that piece of information one way or the other. But yellow card accumulation is certainly an easy way to gauge overall aggression -- a hallmark for how dirty a player is -- and Costa is clearly not in the same league as a player like Frankfurt's Carlos Zambrano.

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