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Who Should Bayern Munich Want? Mario Götze or Kevin De Bruyne?

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If Bayern are serious about acquiring de Bruyne, they may have to consider cutting ties with Götze as a result. Who should they want in their squad?

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Being the big club they are, Bayern Munich does not have to choose between two players very often. If good players are available on the transfer market, the Rekordmeister find a way to acquire them and integrate them into their team. The club has used the ability of piecing together top talent to become one of the most dominant teams in Europe over the last five years.

However, the big influx of top players comes the necessary departures of incumbent ones. Take the striker carousel for instance: Mario Gómez departed the club the season after splitting striker duties with Mario Mandžukić, and Mandžukić departed the club once the club introduced Robert Lewandowski into the team.

With the influx of midfielders in the transfer window – Joshua Kimmich form VfB Stuttgart, Douglas Costa from Shakhtar Donetsk, and Arturo Vidal from Juventus – Mario Götze could be the next candidate for Bayern to squeeze out of the club. Juventus has voiced their desire to acquire the 23-year-old, and reports have linked him to English clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal as well.

A report over the weekend from The Sunday Times speculates Götze's future might be tied to Kevin De Bruyne, a player Bayern are supposedly interested in poaching from Wolfsburg. De Bruyne has several suitors himself – including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City – but Jonathan Northcroft from The Times points out how good Bayern's record is for recruiting Bundesliga players. He went on to speculate Manchester City's focus could then turn to Götze, who would have another attacking midfielder to contend with.

The rumor itself may be far-fetched even if it is well-founded, but the principle of an indirect swap of De Bruyne and Götze is a scenario that could come about. Wolfsburg have voiced their intentions to keep De Bruyne for one more season, but Bayern led be the ones who eventually pries the Fußballer des Jahres from their clutches. The Rekordmeister have at least entertained the idea of having De Bruyne dress in a Bayern kit, which would give Bayern 12 midfielders for five positions. Though the club will want to keep all of its talent, one  of the players will want to leave, and that may force Bayern to choose between the likes of Götze and De Bruyne

The two players are not mutually exclusive, for both could combine their powers to make one potent attack. Several contingencies exist where Bayern could house both De Bruyne and Götze in their squad simultaneously. However if Bayern had to make a decision, which one should they choose?

Mario Götze

Goals Shots per 90 min. Shots on Goal % Inside Box % / Outside Box % Successful Dribbles per 90 min. Dribble Success % Unsuccessful Touches per 90 min. Dispossessed per 90 min.
9 2.4 40.0 70.0 / 30.0 3.0 47.5 1.2 2.2
Assists Passes per 90 min. Pass % Short Passes per 90 min. Short Pass % Long Balls per 90 min. Long Ball % Key Passes per 90 min.
2 52.7 86.2 51.5 86.5 1.2 74.2 1.8

*2014/15 Bundesliga Statistics from Opta (via WhoScored.com)

Mario Götze WhoScored

Courtesy of WhoScored.com

Relevant Facts
  • Appeared in the UEFA Champions League semifinals each of the last three years – 2012/13 with Borussia Dortmund, 2013/14 and 2014/15 with Bayern Munich – but did not start in either the first or the second leg in the 2014/15 Champions League semifinals against Barcelona.
  • Won eight titles, including two domestic doubles – 2011/12 with Borussia Dortmund, 2013/14 with Bayern Munich.
  • Scored the winning goal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final.
  • Scored 15 goals in all competition in 2014/15, including nine goals in 14 matches between September 13 and November 22.
  • Played a career-high 3352 club minutes in 2014/15; has never had two consecutive seasons with over 3000 club minutes.

Kevin De Bruyne

Goals Shots per 90 min. Shots on Goal % Inside Box % / Outside Box % Successful Dribbles per 90 min. Dribble Success % Unsuccessful Touches per 90 min. Dispossessed per 90 min.
10 2.8 42.7 57.3 / 42.7 2.9 58.2 1.5 1.8
Assists Passes per 90 min. Pass % Short Passes per 90 min. Short Pass % Long Balls per 90 min. Long Ball % Key Passes per 90 min.
21 44.9 74.5 38.2 75.7 6.7 67.8 3.3

*2014/15 Bundesliga Statistics from Opta (via WhoScored.com)

Kevin de Bruyne WhoScored

Courtesy of WhoScored.com

Relevant Facts
  • 2015 Fußballer des Jahres – first non-Bayern player since 2012, fifth non-German player ever.
  • 2014/15 Bundesliga Player of the Year.
  • Has seven appearances in the UEFA Champions League; has not started in the Champions League since 2011.
  • Won five titles, including the first DFB-Pokal in club history for VfL Wolfsburg
  • Collected 28 assists in all competition in 2014/15, including nine assists in six matches between October 18 and November 9.
  • Played a career-high 4541 club minutes in 2014/15, 47.2 percent higher than his previous career high and 128.4 percent higher than last season.

Striking Similarities

Although the two go about it in two different ways, De Bruyne and Götze both have a very strong presence on the ball. They get themselves into positions where they can take on defenders, although Götze tends to be a touch better in tight spaces than De Bruyne. That has given them both the ability to have a respectable presence on the flank, even though neither are wingers by trade.

Both also break extremely well, although that two has a distinct dichotomy to it. The difference probably manifests itself in the tactical philosophies that separate Guardiola from Hecking, for Hecking's current system involves more vertical play and early service than Guardiola's does. Neither are particularly pacy players, but know how to take advantage of the space afforded to them on the break.

Perhaps the biggest accolade both share is they have taken fighting clubs to the next level. Granted, Wolfsburg has more financial muscle than Dortmund, especially since the Schwarzgelben were on the brink of bankruptcy in recent history. However, both clubs brought in up-and-coming stars – German stars to boot – to snatch title opportunities away from Bayern, but with out Götze or De Bruyne, ascension to club elite-hood may not have happened.

Distinct Differences

The biggest discrepancy in the players they are is where on the field they thrive at the most. Götze's ability to hold the ball and draw fouls makes the need for his services higher up the field. While the experiment has presented mixed results thus far, Götze is the type of player any manager can use in a "false 9" role, whereas De Bruyne has yet to show he is that type of player. De Bruyne thrives deeper in midfield, but still in a playmaking role, considering his long-ball ability and his passing prowess.

Passing is also a big divergence in the two players, for they connect with their teammates in two very different ways. De Bruyne is certainly an orchestrator, although he maneuvers himself from flank to flank in order to create the best angle for the attack. Götze is not usually the one who starts the play, although he has occasionally dropped into midfield to assist in the buildup play. Götze's passing is more designed to combine with his teammates in the final third, another attribute that makes him better suited at the tippy top than De Bruyne.

Their passing and dribbling attributes require them to play their positions in different ways. Although both are wingers who cut inside, De Bruyne does so to facilitate his teammates around him, where as Götze does so with more braun and straightforward intentions. Those two archetypes are less redundant on the field and more complementary in the attacking third.

The most obvious of disparities is their respective career paths, and while it may not be the most relevant, the variance is important nonetheless. Both are part of a golden generation for their respective countries, but Götze got a real chance at a high level at a much younger age than De Bruyne did. Part of the reason for that is the contrasting level of competition the Bundesliga is compared to the Pro League in Belgium. De Bruyne went to Chelsea to get a chance at a high level after coming up with KAA Genk, but he was out on loan while Götze was establishing himself in Jürgen Klopp's system. However, De Bruyne's development has not hindered him in his time at Wolfsburg, and it's not like Götze's path to prominence has made him a superstar yet.

Who should Bayern choose?

Ideally Bayern should want both, especially if Arjen Robben's decline comes sooner than expected and Thiago Alcantara never proves he can stay healthy. The two would probably work well together, combining just outside the box to come up with some tasty chances. However, it may be just as probable for the two not to want to coexist through the worry of possible playing time issues.

Thus, for the sake of this argument, Bayern would have to choose one, a decision that would be different depending on when the club would make it. With this current Bayern squad – one that does not have a traditional backup striker like in seasons past – the club should elect to stay with Götze, a player who can do more things a forward can do. Should Lewandowski and/or Thomas Müller be shelved like the Bayern players of yesteryear, Götze's ability to hold up the ball and maneuver in the penalty box would be crucial for a striker-less team.