For a decade now, Bayern Munich has been the envy of Europe in the club’s ability to easily navigate the transfer window. Whether it was getting big-name players on free transfers, snagging young players for cheap before they made it big, or finding a diamond in the rough, the decision-makers at Bayern knew how to get the players that the team needed to be successful.
However, after years of boasts around the Bundesliga that, “Bayern’s substitutes could challenge for a Champions League place in the Bundesliga,” that talk is fading fast. On Saturday against Borussia Dortmund in the DFL Supercup, Bayern’s bench could be described, at best, as disappointingly weak.
That bench consisted of talented but still raw youngsters like Alphonso Davies and Fiete Arp — players who should be with Bayern II in the 3.Liga where they can them build on their talent like Sarpreet Singh and Ryan Johansson. Beyond them, the bench featured a third goalkeeper in Ron-Thorben Hoffmann and Bayern substitute-quality players like Renato Sanches, Benjamin Pavard, and Sven Ulreich.
Although some projected their wild expectations onto players like Davies, Arp, and Singh, they are not players that Bayern should rely on to win big games. You’ll remember the recent past when players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Mario Gomez, Mario Mandzukic, Douglas Costa, Mario Gotze, and James Rodriguez were the players who came into games off the bench.
For his part, Robert Lewandowski wants Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness to know that there’s a problem. Following the Supercup loss, Lewandowski told the gathered media, “My opinion stays the same. We need new players, who give us an immediate impact.” This, as you can imagine, has been a regular talking point in the fanbase after the last two summer transfer windows, in which Bayern made zero moves to bolster the club’s shrinking offense. Now, the players are speaking up about it this preseason when asked by the media.
As Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery approached the end of their illustrious careers, fans wondered who who would replace the legendary duo. Bayern has bought in several “successors” over the years and, nearly just as quickly, shipped them out — and not only new wingers. In the search for someone to be Lewandowski’s backup, Bayern have sent several players out the door over the last five seasons.
Summer 2014: Mario Mandzukic (transfer to Atletico Madrid), Xherdan Shaqiri (transfer to Inter Milan)
Summer 2016: Mario Gotze (transfer to Borussia Dortmund)
Summer 2018: Douglas Costa (transfer to Juventus)
Winter 2019: Sandro Wagner (transfer to Tianjin Teda)
Summer 2019: Franck Ribery (contract expired), Arjen Robben (retired), James Rodriguez (loan ended, return to Real Madrid)
Despite losing Ribery, Robben, and James this summer, Bayern have spent €0 thus far to replace the three. Sure, Davies joined last winter, and you could argue that he’s the designated heir to one of those three men; however, that’s one unproven eighteen-year-old replacing two of the greatest players to ever suit up for Bayern and a sometimes-world class James.
Bayern does not merely need to bring in more players this summer; they must bring in more players. Bayern is not a Champions League-winning side with the current squad. Bayern is not even a Bundesliga-winning side with this current squad.
Now, I’m someone that believes that Leroy Sané is a done deal and is just days away from being announced. However, one Leroy Sané does not a championship-winning side make. Despite the signing of Sané, Bayern is still in need of additional players to challenge on all three fronts this year. The squad is not deep enough, specifically in the attack, for Bayern to make a legitimate challenge for trophies this year.
It’s time for Kalle and Uli to get to work.
Go sign players.