Despite a roster full of veterans, there was a surprising amount of room for improvement in the post-Carlo Ancelotti Era in Munich. From debilitating bouts of confidence to under use because of poor squad rotations to just being in Ancelotti’s dog house, many Bayern Munich players eventually persevered and made great improvements over the course of the season.
Below, our writers gave their own thoughts on who Bayern’s Most Improved Player was. Give us your vote in the poll below and drop a comment in to tell us why you made your selection.
Niklas Süle. When the announcement that Süle would transfer in from Hoffenheim was made, I did not expect Bayern to reap the rewards of an investment in youth so soon. After a solid showing in last summer’s Confederations Cup for Die Mannschaft, Süle’s evolution only continued - yet at a more rapid pace. Seemingly week-by-week, Süle was asked to fill the shoes of either Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng and he did so with aplomb. It was truly a great season for Süle, who went from “youngster looking for experience” to “impact player” in the Champions League.
Sven Ulreich. Not much of a surprise. The man went from a bumbling buffoon to a legit contender for the German World Cup squad. One “brain fart” against Real Madrid doesn’t undo the incredible improvement Sven Ulreich made this season, especially when you recall how awful he was before.
James Rodriguez. I wasn’t a big fan of James Rodriguez prior to him joining Bayern; however, he has spent the entire season proving me wrong. So, to me, he is the “Most Improved” player on the Bayern team. He’s completely changed my opinion of him. I have big expectations of him next season no matter what kind of lineup Niko Kovac decides to play.
John N. Dillon
Kingsley Coman. Prior to this season, Coman enjoyed little more than cameo appearances in the starting lineup, as Franck Ribery kept his hold on the starting spot at left wing, and Coman’s performances were rather inconsistent. This season changed everything, especially once Jupp Heynckes took the reins. Coman finally tapped his potential and became one of the most dangerous wingers in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing him back next season.
Joshua Kimmich. The right back stepped in admirably for the departing Philip Lahm and didn’t miss a beat. What became a position of concern became a position of strength.
Sven Ulreich. He stepped his game up big time compared to early this season and last season, as well as his time at Stuttgart. He had an outstanding season and looks to have improved significantly since arriving at Bayern, which is why I was surprised to see him sign a contract extension this season. He would have no shortage of suitors, should he want to leave Bayern the starter in goal elsewhere.
Kingsley Coman. It is a shame that Kingsley Coman’s season was cut short due to injury. In his limited time on the field, I saw a young player beginning to complete the process of evolving from potential star to legitimate star. He was no longer just a speedy winger, he was a speedy winger who could find space to create and could leverage that speed into getting the ball into dangerous zones. He was no longer just flash, he had substance and started to show an intelligence about the game that only comes with experience. Had he not been injured, this could have been a truly breakout year for him. I fully expect that to be next year now.
Sven Ulreich. Yes, he had some “not so good” moments both near the end of the season and at the start, but he was also thrust into the worst situation possible with Neuer out for an indiscriminate amount of time. For much of the year he played a lot better than most thought he would.
James Rodriguez. Ever since Jupp came, James was an entirely different player. His ability to play as a slightly altered central midfielder helped utilize his play-making ability with his passing and distribution. He really found where he was most effective and was a massive part of Bayern’s success on all fronts; he added, goals, assists, and a handful of key passes per match. It’s hard to think of another player, perhaps other than Sven Ulreich, that improved as much as James over the course of the season.
Sven Ulreich. It’s gotta be Sven Ulreich. It’s true that he had a few underwhelming matches but I hope it doesn’t stand in the way of all the great matches he had. I was disappointed, like everyone else, when Manuel Neuer was injured but it only took me a few weeks to realize that Bayern are in safe hands because Ulle kept getting better each day. He was able to prove the doubters wrong . That’s the reason why I think he deserves this title.
Who is your pick as Bayern Munich’s Most Improved Player?
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