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Five Bayern Munich stories to watch in the second half of the season

Bayern Munich is returning soon and here are some compelling storylines to keep an eye on!

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
Lewandowski is waiting eagerly to return, surely!
Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The second half is almost upon us! We hope Bayern will keep us entertained and thrilled moving forward and we have a lot to wonder about including the following:

Will Marc Roca’s soul hover over Bayern’s midfield?

When Marc Roca has appeared on the pitch, his style has left me in awe. He plays with elegance and his sense of positioning in defensive midfield is impressive. However, Hansi Flick has time and time again decided not to go with Roca. After an impressive display in the Champions League against Lokomotiv, in the absence of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich (on the substitutes’ bench) in Bayern’s last game before the winter break against Leverkusen, Flick opted to leave Roca out once more, leaving fans scratching their heads. With both Goretzka and Kimmich back, the odds of seeing Roca are even lower now; however, the fixture congestion remains and the question one cannot help but ask is: will we see Marc Roca ever again in a Bayern Munich shirt on the pitch?

Will Leroy Sané finally arrive?

The national obsession with Leroy Sané means that everyone from Bayern’s current hierarchy to Bayern’s former hierarchy is speaking about him publicly. He, unfortunately, suffered the ignominy of being subbed on and subbed off against Leverkusen, leading to Thomas Müller offering him a hug at the end of the match. Sané has impressed when he has come on as a substitute; he has largely disappointed when he has started. While the German international is often criticized for his work rate, I do not think his work rate has been the problem at all. Flick does not suffer fools and he would not play Sané if that was the issue.

I see the midfielder work hard on the pitch but, his final passes leave a lot to be desired at times. Considering that he is coming off the back of a long-term injury, he is coming into the Bundesliga from a farmer’s league (!!) and that he has come into the best team in Europe, Leroy deserves time to find his feet. I think he will conquer most of his demons by the end of the season; however, this saga promises to continue and there will be a lot of eyes focused on the young German as the season progresses.

Will Bayern’s high line be effective once more?

Hoffenheim might as well have pronounced the death of Bayern’s high line on Matchday 2 of the Bundesliga. Since then, plenty of other sides have taken advantage of the high line as evidenced by Bayern’s poor defensive record in the league this season. Nonetheless, Bayern has conceded from many different types of situations, the high line being just one of them. This question will have a better answer depending on the return to form of David Alaba (who might not even stay) and Benjamin Pavard as well. However, it is worth keeping an eye out for.

Who will stay and who will go?

The transfer market always excites of course; last season was a long chase for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Leroy Sané. This season, the focus is more on who might leave. Alaba is the primary candidate to exit of course with rumors connecting him to every big club in Europe at this point. Boateng, who has experienced a revival, looked set to leave but is around and might be around for longer if Alaba leaves.

Niklas Süle was in the doghouse for a little while but is seemingly back into the team for good. His contract needs extending too. Corentin Tolisso, who at the time of his signing was Bayern’s record signing, has been brilliant and ordinary in equal measure. It remains to be seen whether Bayern decides to be patient with him as well.

Will Hansi Flick be a victim of the dreaded second season?

Over the past decade or so, Bayern coaches who have been successful in their first season haven’t always had their way in the second season. Louis Van Gaal was sacked in his second season in 2011. Jupp Heynckes took over eventually and led Bayern to a treble in his second season, becoming the exception to the rule. Pep Guardiola had similar problems in his second season compared to his first, losing out in the Champions League for a second season in a row.

Carlo Ancelotti was fired in his second season in charge. Niko Kovac also lost his job in his second season in charge. Hansi conquered all in his first season and, based on events so far, might be the first Bayern coach in a long time to earn a contract extension (Jupp had too many Bayern contracts to be included in this comparison) beyond his current contract, which already runs through 2023. However, plenty will depend on how well the club finish the season. Expectations are high, more than before, and hopefully, Hansi will not turn out to be a victim of his own success.

So, there you have it! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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