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.
Thiago recorded his 100th Bundesliga win today. It only took 122 games. The second-quickest ever to #FCBayern— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) April 20, 2019
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...
How important is Thiago for Bayern?
This poll is closed
He’s the most important player on the field
Sure, we need him, but there are other players who contribute more
We could make do without him
Sell him right now and let Renato Sanches show him how it’s done
While you’re here, here’s a great Bundesliga video that really goes in depth to the tactics surrounding Thiago: