When Benjamin Pavard transferred to Bayern Munich, it was unclear whether his future would be at center-back or right-back. After playing a bit of both at the beginning of last season, Pavard settled into the role of right-back and turned in a terrific campaign until an injury hijacked the final part of his season.
2020/2021, however, has not been what Pavard probably hoped for. Despite the team’s rampant success, Pavard has found his way into Hansi Flick’s doghouse. Lately, Flick has preferred to use Niklas Süle at right-back over Pavard and summer-signee Bouna Sarr.
Worse for the normal right-backs, Süle has been really good.
So, what is going on with Pavard? Germany outlet kicker examined the Frenchman’s play and thinks these reasons might be why Flick has opted to leave Pavard on the bench of late:
Ratings — kicker style:
Pavard’s average in the Bundesliga has fallen from 3.24 in the previous season to 4.19. Bayern players with an average of more than 4 in at least eight graded games are a rarity this century. The last two before Pavard were Renato Sanches (4.19 in 2016/17) and Miroslav Klose (4.11 in 2010/11).
Pavard is not alone in being hammered by kicker, though, for this season. Alphonso Davies, Bouna Sarr, Javi Martinez, Leroy Sané, Corentin Tolisso, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Joshua Zirkzee are all rated a 4.0 or worse for the season.
His dribbling and crossing have both regressed:
What is statistically striking is that the Frenchman has yet to muster a single dribble in the league this season. In the entire preseason, there were 26, of which he won every second. While 28.8 percent of his crosses arrived in 2019/20, the figure is now just 11.5. At least he increased the percentage of tackles won from 57 to 58.3 percent.
So, where does Pavard go from here?
While Süle has looked good of late, he has had his own placement in Flick’s doghouse this season — and, truthfully, his future is at center-back. As for Sarr, he has not impressed at all since signing with the Bavarians from Olympique Marseille near the end of the transfer window.
In addition, the likelihood that Bayern Munich makes a move for another right-back is essentially non-existent. With Pavard, Sarr, Chris Richards, and now Süle all available, wasting any cash on another right-back would not be fiscally responsible.
So, whatever funk Pavard has been going through needs to end. The player still has immense talent and offers Flick the ability to both charge up the field and contribute offensively, while also being able to play deeper to stabilize the back-line when Alphonso Davies or Lucas Hernandez bomb up the left-flank.
Has Pavard been great this season? Nope.
Is there a reason to write him off already? Absolutely not.
Many players have rotated through Flick’s doghouse and they all seemingly come out better afterward. Bayern Munich fans should have a strong feeling that Pavard will do the same.