Figuring out who the most irreplaceable player for FC Bayern is a tricky topic. Arguments can be made for several players in FC Bayern’s squad and, honestly, they can be quite subjective. For this piece, I’ve asked contributors at BFW to give me their list of their 5 most irreplaceable players at Bayern and defend their choices.
1. Robert Lewandowski: The Pole is arguably Bayern’s most irreplaceable squad member, and it is not because he became the first non-German ever to score 200 career goals in the Bundesliga. simply put, we have zero depth behind him. Nil. Zilch. Null. Nadda. The only striker we really have on the roster is Jean-Fiete Arp, and let’s be honest, is he really who we want to start in a must-win UEFA Champions League semi vs. Liverpool? Not to ding Arp, but I’d have to say “no.” That alone makes Lewandowski truly our most irreplaceable player, though the 44 goals per season (all competitions) he averages is pretty important too.
2. Thomas Müller: This one I know will probably be controversial among my fellow BFW writers and readers, but I firmly believe Muller is the second-most irreplaceable player on Bayern’s squad. Why, might you ask? Well, to start, there is no one else like him in the world. Der Raumdeuter excels in creating space for the his teammates and finding space that provides excellent opportunities to score. Not to mention, this ungodly streak he has going:
Bundesliga.com went in depth on Thomas Muller:
In total, he has racked up 106 goals and 114 assists in 296 top-flight appearances — and amazingly, Bayern haven’t lost any of the 84 league games in which he has found the back of the net.
Those two statistics are incredible. Not to mention, in four of the last six years, Thomas Müller has led FC Bayern in assists.
Truthfully, I have read a lot about how Coutinho is a superior player to Müller and that Müller should be sold this upcoming summer, etc., etc. Frankly, that would be a horrible idea. Not only have stats proven that Muller is an essential part of Bayern’s offensive well-being, but when your top striker is happy playing along side Müller, that’s all you need to know. Lewandowski has said,
It’s better if I can play alongside someone in attack. With Thomas next to me it’s easier. He helps me a lot. We complement each other very well.
3. Thiago: Thiago plays such an essential role in the midfield of FC Bayern. He truly is their Maestro in the midfield with his passing. When he is on his game, Thiago controls the midfield as very few in the world can. He plays defense, he scores goals, he plays physically and makes tackles, and he makes passes that are the envy of his peers. While Bayern has options, in any must-win game Thiago is immediately penciled in as the first starter in the midfield.
Thiago killer pass to Gnabry who destroys Robertson before crossing, these Bayern guys are so fun pic.twitter.com/9dFleUcplT— Para (@Paracelsus) February 19, 2019
1. Robert Lewandowski: There is nobody out there that can finish like the big ol’ Pole. Even at 31, I shudder to think of life post Lewy as Bayern struggles to find the production at the 9 spot that he has brought. He is, in my most humblest of opinions, the best pure striker on the planet.
2. Thiago: He does everything. Quite literally, everything. I firmly believe there is not one player out there who can make up for all the contributions he makes on the pitch. The fact that he does so with so little fanfare and acclaim, and that he has maintained his wide smile throughout, tells you all you need to know about his mindset as a player. He doesn’t need the glory, so long as his teammates, and bosses know what he does.
3. Joshua Kimmich: Maybe not irreplaceable, but I don’t think there’s another right-back/wing/maybe-6 I’d rather trade anywhere in the world. Like Thiago, he does it all without any fanfare and, also like Thiago, he doesn’t seem to mind. Bayern is truly fortunate to have Lahm’s replacement come in make the seamless transition.
1. Robert Lewandowski: Simply put, Bayern Munich don’t have a replacement for the big Pole in the event of a suspension or injury. I theorise that Bayern could switch to a two-man strike force to compensate for the incredible goal threat Lewy offers. That really is a compliment on how, without Lewy, the team looks so devoid in attack. He’s scored over 22 goals in every Bundesliga season since and including 15-16!
However, Lewandowski offers more than just mere goals. His vision, attacking movement, tandem with Thomas Müller, hold-up play, and defensive work all immensely benefit the side, creating space for other players and improving any man in Bayern red on the field. And he shows his physical presence in the final third by constantly winning headers from corners, for flick-ons, and from the many crosses Bayern play each game.
Off the pitch, the Polish captain is equally important. His leadership skills are apparent given his recent promotion as vice captain appointment, and his professionalism is a model for all younger players at the club in the pursuit of excellence. Desert before Dinner!
2. Thomas Muller: Müller and Lewandowski are akin to yin and yan. Two equals who are so different yet so similar. The legendary combination is always on the same wavelength, displaying their telepathic connection through dummies off the ball, runs off of each other, creation of space and one-two passes. Frankly, Lewandowski would not be nearly as good without his partner in crime. To really paint a picture of how much Lewy relies on his German counterpart, Sky Sports reported last season (as of March 19 2019), that the striker scored 25 goals in 25 games with Müller on the pitch, but only 5 goals in 11 games without Müller.
Around that time period, it was also reported that Bayern score around one goal more per game with Muller in the lineup (during 18-19), a greater difference than any other player on the team. The Raumdeuteur makes the difference through the added space he provides the team, underrated passing abilities, constant movement and one-twos, and his goal threat and self-less play. It was fitting that Bayern’s attack looked anaemic during the Champions League ties vs Liverpool. Muller wasn’t there. Hopefully coach Niko Kovac eventually realizes how much of an asset Muller is when used correctly; otherwise I suspect he may pay the price. (You don’t play your best players on the bench...)
Off the field, the Bavarian local represents the crucial Mia San Mia feeling. He’s irreplaceable to the club, the team and the fans.
3. Thiago Alcantara: Thiago is the heartbeat of the Bayern team. His metronomic passing style routinely draws more passes than any other player in a game and contributes greatly to Bayern in the transitional phase. In addition, he averages a high passing percentage despite playing a whopping eight long balls per 90! People often overlook his defensive contributions, which are elite, perhaps because the maestro always looking so elegant on the ball.
Bayern have no replacement for Thiago, who is an immense visionary, dribbling and defensive presence. Hence, he is irreplaceable to Niko Kovac’s team.
1. Robert Lewandowski: An obvious choice for the most irreplaceable Bayern Munich player. He has been Bayern’s only “x-factor” for a while, and he is Bayern’s overall best player. If Bayern wants to do well, especially in the latter stages of the Champions League, the Bavarian giants need their Polish international to contribute.
Frankly, the last couple of times Bayern has gotten eliminated from the Champions League, Lewy has disappointed and the whole team is affected. I can’t think of another Bayern player who has such an effect on the team’s performance. If he gets injured, Bayern will struggle, which is worrying. Bayern has no pure striker back-up for the Polish superstar.
His link-up play, his goal-scoring threat and his ability to single-handedly decide games see him in a comfortable first place.
2. Philippe Coutinho: Now, brace yourself because, apart from my first pick, my answers will be very different and arguably controversial. As mentioned above, Lewandowski has been Bayern’s only “x-factor” for at least two seasons. By “x-factor,” I mean the player who can single-handedly change the result of a game. From 2010 to 2013, I believe Bayern had two players who were able to create that little extra: Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. The addition of Lewandowski increased those type of players to three, but as the years went by, both Ribery’s and Robben’s quality, understandably, declined.
This upcoming season, Bayern could get another “x-factor.” People tend to forget that it wasn’t so long ago that Coutinho terrorized every defense in the best league in the world (in terms of quality). After one and a half years of a mediocre period in Barcelona, Coutinho could find his previous form in Munich. If he does, he could be irreplaceable for Bayern, especially in the latter stages of Champions League.
3. Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Süle: The third-place consists of two players. If Hernandez starts a successful partnership with Niklas Süle, it could benefit Bayern greatly. Both players are talented center-backs who can get better. The two also complement each other quite well. Hernandez is more of a ball-playing defender who can move the ball smoothly out of the back-four. Süle is more of a classic defender, who can do all the dirty work that is needed in a back-four.
If all goes well, Hernandez and Süle can form an irreplaceable center-back partnership not only for this season but for many to come.
With all of this being said, who are y’alls top 3 most irreplaceable Bayern players? Why? Let us know in the comments!