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Felix Goetze addition signals changes for Bayern Munich’s bloated centerback corps

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Ch-ch-ch-changes? Probably.

Arsenal FC v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The addition of Felix Goetze gives Bayern Munich yet another centerback. The 19-year-old signed his first professional contract with Die Roten earlier this week. If you’re playing the counting game that brings their vaunted number of centerbacks up to six. While it’s likely that Goetze will spend the majority of the season at Bayern II, it’s worth remembering how impressive he was last summer and that he’s potentially the deep depth option that Bayern seem to need every season at this position.

For a team as good as Bayern, their last four seasons have been partially defined by their chronic injury issues at centerback. Holger Badstuber, Medhi Benatia, and Javi Martinez were among the worst offenders, but neither Jerome Boateng nor Mats Hummels were exempt either.

Badstuber and Benatia have permanently departed for alternate pastures, while Javi Martinez is coming off a solid season that saw him regain some of the form that lead to Bayern’s treble win in 2012/2013.

As I talked about in January, Bayern have a significant amount of minutes to allocate to centerbacks. They needed a fourth option down the stretch this past season given the numerous injuries they suffered and David Alaba was the only choice in that regard. Now with Niklas Sule and Felix Goetze in tow, Bayern have a copious amount of minutes to spread around. Yet less though than is likely possible if the sole intent is to roster 5-and-a-half centerbacks.

That says something is about to give. Niklas Sule will join this year while David Alaba’s particularly pathetic season at leftback raises some doubts about his future at that position. It’s unlikely anything will change this season, but neither should we expect Carlo Ancelotti to give up on the centralization that Pep Guardiola started. Alaba’s distant future might be as a dynamic centerback given the way his game has evolved and the role he plays for Austria.

For Boateng and Hummels, they are locked into the only roles they’ve ever played. This leaves Javi Martinez as the lone man out. The dominating midfielder-turned-centerback was only moved out of midfield based on the possessive predilection — or obsession, your call — of Pep Guardiola. Given the plethora of centerbacks and the retirement of Xabi Alonso, it’s entirely likely that Martinez returns to roam the midfield again.

And given Arturo Vidal and Thiago Alcantara are already defensive bulwarks of their own, it’s impressive to think that Bayern Munich’s midfield defense come next season might be their greatest strength. Which given the heart attacks Bayern fans have had to endure over the past three seasons with Xabi Alonso in that role, it’s hard not to be excited by that potential prospect.