In Goal.com’s recent editorial evaluating Bayern Munich’s prospects for the upcoming campaign the website’s Bundesliga reporter, Ronan Murphy, was anything but flattering. Whether it is the lack of first-team signings, high profile departures, poor performances at the World Cup, or Uli Hoeness’ refusal to let his spat with Mesut Ozil go, from the outside looking in, Bayern is in a borderline shambolic state. Murphy’s argument has some validity to it, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture of what is going on in the Bavarian capital during this transitional stage.
In honor of the new Bundesliga season kicking off today, however, I want to give you three reasons to be optimistic ahead of the season.
1. Defensive Solidity
Carlo Ancelotti’s nonexistent tactical approach when it came to team defending and Jupp Heynckes reliance on an attack-oriented midfield and high defensive line left Bayern exposed in some key matches. Although Niko Kovac has indicated he intends to maintain a possession-based style of play, the new manager has a predisposition for not only an aggressive pressing style, but also a team defensive concept that goes beyond an over-reliance on the quality of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Niklas Sule that proved so costly in the Champions League and even for Germany in the World Cup. Gone are the days where we watch Hummels and Boateng isolated, scrambling to save the day while the Bavarians are hit on the counter.
2. New Signings
The narrative pushed by media and even Bayern Munich fans regarding the lack of summer transfer dealings has been largely negative, but this is wide of the mark. In a squad where quality is abundant to the point of offering too many options, offloading fan favorites like Arturo Vidal and potentially Sebastian Rudy was absolutely necessary in ensuring quality minutes for each member of the star-studded midfield. Calls for a new winger also rang far and wide, which would create yet another log jam in Munich.
Midfield departures and the maintenance of an already talented core of wingers will allow the new additions to flourish. Vidal made way for Leon Goretzka who arrived on a free transfer from Schalke in the Summer. The German international is regarded of one of the world’s most intriguing midfield talents and he is primed for a massive campaign under Kovac.
Renato Sanches, who has returned from loan may not be a new signing, but he has also shown flashes in the preseason of his undoubted potential. If Kovac can reignite his career alongside Die Roten’s other elite midfielders, Sanches could prove a revelation across competitions.
Finally, Serge Gnabry will open his first season in Bavaria after a productive season on loan. The crafty winger both creates and finishes chances at an elite level and he is eagerly awaiting his opportunity to take the reigns from Franck Ribery. Ensuring that the young German will have minutes available to make the next step under the tutelage of Robbery will pay dividends come the end of the season.
3. Youth are a year older
The Rekordmeister’s youth movement is reaching maturity. Niklas Sule and Joshua Kimmich have proven they are elite defenders, while Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka are coming into their own as world class all-action midfielders. Kingsley Coman showed his ability prior to injury last season and is primed for a massive campaign on either wing. Alongside Gnabry, this sextuplet of rising stars is ready to drive the Bavarian giants forward under the guidance of Champions League winners.
Why are you excited for the upcoming season?