Although Hertha Berlin came away from the Allianz Arena with a 1-0 loss against Bayern Munich, Niklas Stark turned in an impressive shift in the center of Berlin’s defense and was hardly at fault for Javi Martinez’s goal. As fate would have it, per Sport1, Bayern are interested in bringing the 23-year-old center-back to Munich during this summer’s transfer window as negotiations with Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez seemed to have faltered.
Asked about a potential move to Bayern, Stark remained tight-lipped over the interest from the record German champions and said he’s fully focused on playing for Hertha Berlin right now:
That’s not in my hands; others have to judge that. Just to be linked to Bayern — which I do not believe — is of course something very nice. But there’s nothing there, and it’s not my job to create links. I’m at Hertha now; I’m playing for Hertha this season. We have a lot of goals, and that’s where my focus is.
Michael Preetz, Berlin’s general manager also played down the suggestion that Bayern are interested in acquiring Stark’s services:
I can’t say that. You have to ask Bayern.
Preetz acknowledged, though, that his player is “very reliable.”
Regardless of the legitimacy of Bayern’s interest in him, Stark could prove to be a solid addition to Bayern’s back line, for a considerably less expensive fee than Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez would have cost (around €85m). Stark’s contract with Berlin runs through the summer of 2022, and he’s currently valuated at around €22.8m (transfermarkt). Berlin thus might have the luxury of jacking their asking price up. Still, though, Stark would be a valuable addition to a back line that will already see Benjamin Pavard join it next season after his €35m move from VfB Stuttgart.
Stark’s recent performance against Bayern
If Stark’s performance against Bayern is any barometer of how good he could be alongside Pavard, Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule, and/or Jerome Boateng, Niko Kovac good have quite the defensive stalwart on his hands. He essentially took Robert Lewandowski out of the game and made a handful of timely interventions to thwart Bayern’s attacks.
Stark was also tidy with his distribution out of the back, boasting a pass completion rate of 85%, much akin to Sule’s perennially successful passer rating. Not to mention, at such a young age, he has also shown his versatility, as he’s been utilized as a defensive midfielder at times for Berlin, so he could very well adapt into the number 6 role at Bayern, too.
This could be such a great opportunity for us to coin the “Niklas squared” phrase if and when Stark and Sule ever start alongside one another. Oh, he can also score headers, too:
What’s everyone think? Should Bayern definitely pursue Stark? Let us know what you think in the comments section!