Every season presents itself as a challenge for each player. Where does a player fit on a roster? Is there competition at his preferred position? Every player likely feels at least a little pressure in trying to claim his position on the pitch.
Given what we know about next season’s roster to date, we asked our staff which players need to have a big season or “step it up” to prove their worth to the front office. The responses — as you can imagine — varied.
Chuck Smith: Benjamin Pavard
I know . . . it seems like I am picking on the new guy, but I think Benjamin Pavard is in a tenuous spot. He’s young, talented, and a proven winner, but he’s going to be in a tough battle for playing time with Bayern Munich. Does he slot in at center-back where he’ll have to scrape time away from Niklas Sule, Mats Hummels, and Lucas Hernandez or does he have to be the back-up to Joshua Kimmich at right-back? Or . . . does Kimmich bump to midfield and Pavard take over at right-back? There are many possibilities for Pavard, but it remains to be seen whether he will be happy if he does not break into the starting XI. One thing is certain, if he displays the inconsistency he showed at VfB Stuttgart this season, he won’t have an easy time in Munich.
Ben Erwin: Kingsley Coman
The French winger has shown flashes of brilliance over the last two campaigns, and it is time for him to put it all together over the course of the season. Injuries have plagued his promising career, but he will be given the opportunity to take the reins of the offense and make the jump to world-class status. He is truly a game-changer with his pace, creativity and improved end product. A big season from the King could propel Bayern Munich back to the latter stages of the Champions League.
Phillip Quinn: Manuel Neuer
There are two things that Manuel Neuer must do next season for Bayern Munich to be successful. First, he needs to stay healthy. Neuer has missed way too many games over the last couple of seasons due to an assortment of lower leg ailments, from foot injuries to calf problems. It’s hard to be a great goalkeeper when you can’t stay on the field. Second, Neuer needs to play like he did toward the end of the season. In the first half of the season, Neuer was a near disaster on the the field. Whether it was the calamitous errors or the complete lack of confidence, Neuer was directly responsible for several dropped points for Bayern. If Neuer is ready to go next season, watch out, Europe.
Marcus Iredahl: Corentin Tolisso
This might seem very harsh, but our second-highest-most-expensive transfer ever needs to have a solid season next year. Tolisso had a very good first season and a very unlucky second one, nearly all of which he missed. It is harsh, although there is not much room for sentiment at Säbener Strasse: Tolisso needs to impress in his third season in Bavaria. With Thiago Alcantara, Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez having a good season and rumors that Bayern may sign a new midfielder, Tolisso needs to prove to Kovac that he is still as talented as he was before the 2018-2019 season.
Literally every single player on this squad can go up a level or two, and that’s what we need next season if we want to challenge for the Champions League. Many of our players have shown glimpses of what they’re truly capable of, but aside from maybe Robert Lewandowski, none of them have maintained a constant level of excellence. I want Joshua Kimmich to attack/defend every game like he did against Leipzig. I want Coman to score/assist every game like he did against Augsburg. I want Muller to score/assist every game like he did against Bremen. I want Manuel Neuer to pull out wondersaves every game like he did against Leipzig.
That’s what we need.
Brian Burton: Thomas Müller
Ever since his career year in 2015-2016, the Raumdeuter hasn’t quite been the same. Through his long Bayern tenure, he’s proven that he’s valuable to the team, but he was also just cut from the Germany squad before turning 30. He’s facing more competition than ever for his spot, as younger players like Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso vie for playing time. It seems like some are losing faith in him, and if he doesn’t impress next year, people may begin to agree with Jogi Löw’s decision. But it’s up to him to prove everyone wrong. Ten World Cup goals for Germany and 110 goals for Bayern Munich may look good on a stat sheet, but a season of vintage Thomas Müller would do well to jog all of our memories.
Logan Chugg: Alphonso Davies
After signing on with Bayern in January, Davies only saw minimal time with the first team. While already fighting for minutes, the young Canadian injured himself while celebrating his first Bundesliga goal. After doing a rehab stint with Bayern II, Davies barely made the 18. Next year could be a pivotal season for Davies. His play in the coming months could decide whether Davies will have a legitimate future with Bayern’s first-team, or if he will be destined to stay with Bayern II in the lower leagues.
Our writers gave their scorching hot takes . . . what about you? Tell us in the poll below and also in the comments. Also, this is our last category, so thanks to you all for reading, I will post poll results in an upcoming Daily Schmankerl.
BFW Postseason Breakdown: Player Who Needs to Have a Big Season Next Year?
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