Bayern Munich’s roster is embarrassingly deep and talented—perhaps its most dangerous ever. With the likes of Sebastian Rudy, Juan Bernat, Sandro Wagner, Rafinha, and Corentin Tolisso among those consistently on the bench during games, Die Roten have the cliche “Nice problem to have” regarding its start-studded roster.
But is it really a good thing? With the squad’s field players all fit for the first time this season, some of that talent will now be watching games from the stands on a consistent basis. According to a statement that Uli Hoeness gave to TZ, the Bayern president is not eager to address the situation given his response when asked about the status of Rudy:
I have to tell you something: stop looking for the needle in the haystack! Worry about the players who play, and not those who sit in the stands.
To his credit, Rudy is not causing an public issue with any displeasure regarding his status, as he deflected questions being asked as he exited the stands after a recent match:
Sorry, I’ve got to go.
Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidzic addressed Rudy’s situation more thoroughly than Hoeness and demonstrated his understanding of any player’s desire for match time. Salihamidzic also thinks the guile of Jupp Heynckes in managing the roster may be the saving grace for Bayern as it works through the talent surplus:
There’s fierce competition there, which teases out the performances. Obviously I feel bad for everyone who’s not there. This time it was Sebastian’s turn. The coach has done it right up to now and will try in the future to ensure that everyone gets playing time. Let’s see what happens in the next games.
The players are also aware of the effects that can occur from skilled players being left off the game day roster as center-back Mats Hummels acknowledged:
It’s naturally hard for those who are caught out—and not right after a break. I think you have to get the players back on board right away. Such decisions are hard for every coach. Nobody says: ‘Cool, today I can leave a super left-back in Juan Bernat and a German national player on the 6 position in Sebastian Rudy out of the squad.’
As of now, there would appear to be three healthy, talented players left off the game day roster for each match. With Rudy and Bernat the two most logical choices given the depth that Bayern have at midfield and at outside back, the third choice could get dicey with Tolisso and Wagner being the easiest options.
Tolisso, because of his age (23) and his competition for the 8 spot with Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara, and even James Rodriguez as more experienced options, could be a smart decision to avoid drama, while Wagner, whose spot could be filled by Muller acting as a false 9, could be another choice for a role behind Robert Lewandowski.
The fact that players of the respective quality of Bernat and Rudy have avoided a public stir most likely speaks to the culture that Heynckes has already instilled in them. With the squad focused on securing another treble (which looks more realistic by the day), avoiding the pitfalls of this talent overload may be greatest opponent Bayern will face this season.