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Just how important is Thiago to Bayern Munich?

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There’s no doubt he’s talented, but where would Bayern be without their Spanish no. 6?

Real Madrid v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola once said, “Thiago oder nichts”—”Thiago or nothing” when it came to who he wanted in the transfer market. Guardiola may have moved on from Bayern Munich, but his prized midfielder has stayed and assumed an important role for the Record Champions. Since joining Bayern, Thiago Alcantara has been involved in 100 Bundesliga wins, just reaching that milestone with Saturday’s win against Werder Bremen. He’s lost 22 games; a win percentage of 82%. At first glance, his stats aren’t anything special: just six goals and thirteen assists in the Bundesliga throughout the past three years. But his contribution goes far beyond the surface statistical tallies.

Bayern relies on Thiago to be their main creator. The only nuance is that his creation is about playing creative balls to break opposing defenses down. That means his original pass, which more often than not doesn’t directly lead to a goal, is the factor that puts his teammates in dangerous situations. The stat sheet doesn’t account for that, but the team success of Bayern as a whole does.

This past season, we’ve also seen Thiago add a new defensive element to his game. He’s played with a certain aggressiveness that doesn’t make him a liability on defense and has him living up to the number six on his jersey. This defense, of course, in addition to the ever-present quality on the ball. How many times have we seen his patented method of beating a press? Receive a pass from a center back with a spin-drag turn and sudden burst of speed, and he already has two or three defenders beat.

He’s so versatile and so talented on both sides of the ball, and that makes him irreplaceable in Niko Kovac’s lineup. It’s simple: when Thiago plays, Bayern win. So, that being said...

Poll

How important is Thiago for Bayern?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    He’s the most important player on the field
    (596 votes)
  • 26%
    Sure, we need him, but there are other players who contribute more
    (226 votes)
  • 3%
    We could make do without him
    (26 votes)
  • 2%
    Sell him right now and let Renato Sanches show him how it’s done
    (18 votes)
866 votes total Vote Now

While you’re here, here’s a great Bundesliga video that really goes in depth to the tactics surrounding Thiago: