In the last month, the headlines around Bayern Munich have been dominated by the emergence of Joshua Kimmich. Far quieter though has been emergence of Arturo Vidal who in concert with Kimmich have morphed into the backbone of this team.
Which is what we had all hoped to see from then beginning. About one month ago, I wrote a cranky piece about the future of Arturo Vidal here at Bayern Munich. Five months of poor play, an inability to find rhythm with his teammates, and little offensive impetus all contributed to a player who seemed to be a shadow of that which lead Juventus to the European Champions League final last May.
Now, the real Arturo Vidal has stood up.
Saturday's scoreless draw against Borussia Dortmund highlights just how effective Vidal has been in the last four weeks. As Bayern Munich's defense has been crippled it's midfield has been buoyed by a resurgence of impact from the Chilean. Despite missteps along the way -- see his final minutes in Bayern's loss to Mainz as proof -- Vidal has provided the rigid structure in deep midfield that Bayern has seemed to lack ever since Pep Guardiola broke up the indomitable midfield of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez.
Secondary runs into the box, aggressive tracking back, and a whirlwind defensive performance were all on display against Dortmund. Five tackles, five interceptions, and four shots including a thunderbolt that on another day could have shattered Roman Burkii's hand all belie the dominating two-way player that is the quintessential nature of Arturo Vidal. He kept both Marco Reus and Henrik Mkhitaryan from moving centrally isolating them from Ilkay Gundogan and blunting Dortmund's buildup play and attacked the center creating separation between the Dortmund defensive midfield and their attacking band.
Saturday was Arturo Vidal's formal announcement that he is finally a part of this team. And that it occurred with both Xabi Alonso and Joshua Kimmich sharing string pulling duties shows a team finding a way to push forward from deep despite the absence of some of most dynamic centerbacks on planet. And right now that forward impetus is built around the quick attacking runs from Bayern's wingers and sustained by the dynamism of Arturo Vidal.