A few days ago, the Bundesliga restarted again, becoming the first major European competition back in action. As a result, all eyes have been on the league like never before. This has led to many discovering new talents and players they had never seen or heard about. Even at the champions Bayern Munich, there are many players whose abilities are not well-known and under-appreciated by the masses. Therefore, I asked writers at BFW to detail who they thought was Bayern’s most underrated player, and why.
Mike Lynch — Thiago Alcantara
My pick is the one and only Thiago Alcantara. Since arriving at Munich from Barcelona in 2013 without much fanfare, Thiago has quietly put himself in the running for best player in the world that no one is talking about. Now, I’m sure there are going to be eye-rolls a plenty in the comments section. Thiago gets talked about here quite a lot — and with good reason. How could be possibly he considered underrated? He’s a fixture on the awards section, and when he inevitably retires, we might just have to rename it “The Thiagos.”
So why’s he here? Because he never gets talked about outside of Säbener Strasse in the realm of world-class midfielders, which he absolutely is. Seriously, turn on any of your favorite soccer discussion podcasts or TV shows and see how many have him in their World’s Best XI. Until they add him, I for one, will continue to beat that drum till the day he departs.
Fergus — Kingsley Coman
Now, it was very hard for me to pass up on Thomas Müller and David Alaba — the former for his consistent top performances even when apparently being forced out of the club and his position, the latter for his monumental contribution to Bayern’s style of play, his versatility and always solid (at least 7/10) performances.
However, for me, it had to be the Frenchman Coman. Simply put, whenever he is on the pitch, Coman provides impetus, width, and sizzling pace, all of which are dearly missed when someone like Müller is manning the wing. Perhaps so underrated because of his decent but not great goal-contribution numbers, Coman still dizzies defenders, sends dangerous crosses in the box, and generally helps Bayern progress up the field. Therefore, he indirectly contributes to many goals and chances, even if he is not personally hitting the ball into the net or threading the final pass. It’s no coincidence that Bayern’s best performances this season have come in the limited games Coman has been fit — Chelsea, Dortmund etc... Coman is one of Bayern’s most important and under-appreciated players.
Teddy — Thomas Müller
The Bavarian Golden Boy, der Raumdeuter, and probably the funniest German to come out of, well, Germany, Thomas Müller is a complete package... that is, if you’re a Bayern fan. Outside of Germany, so few people give him the credit he deserves. Of course, there was a time when he got it, when he won the World Cup and the Champions League between 2013 and 2014. Ever since then, though, not that many people have brought him up, especially after he went through a tough patch under Carlo Ancelotti, when he emerged as top assister regardless. “He’s done,” “time to move on,” said a lot of fans. But one only needs to look at how Bayern functions with or without Muller to really notice how important he is.
Bayern have tried to replace Muller for the past two seasons, first with James Rodriguez, and then with Philippe Coutinho. In both cases, Muller won back his starting position. Bayern played, and still plays, so much better when Müller is in the lineup because of his diligence in play, his well-proven partnership with Lewandowski, and his give-all attitude on the pitch.
Müller epitomizes the way Bayern plays: dynamic, efficient, and fast paced football. Yes, Müller’s goal-scoring tally has dropped in the past few years, but he’s more than made up for it with the assists that he’s been chalking up. And that’s another great thing about Müller: he’s very versatile. In his career, he’s been deployed as a 10 behind the striker, a switching winger, and even an 8 deeper in midfield. Müller is indispensable in Bayern’s current team, which is why we all cheered loudly when he put pen to paper and extended his contract till 2023.
John Dillon — Benjamin Pavard
Boohoo, Joshua Kimmich should play right-back. Yeah, well, forget about it. Those days are gone. There’s a new boy at right-back, and his name is Benji.
Pavarrr (aye, me hearties) has made right-back his position at Bayern despite following Joshua Kimmich and his phenomenal offensive numbers. Bayern is supposedly looking for another right-back, but I seriously doubt they are on the market for a “world-class” starter. He’s already on the team.
Pavard has been outstanding. He brings the balance to his position that Kimmich lacked: measured offense and defensive discipline. No, he’s not a freak of nature like Alphonso Davies, whose lighting-paced backtracking helps him cover positioning mistakes. Pavard simply avoids making mistakes. He has been so solid at right-back, we hardly talk about him. And his outstanding play has enabled Kimmich to move into the central midfield permanently.
Pavard meanwhile has delivered at the highest level consistently and is one of the very highest-rated right-backs anywhere.
Schnitzel — Javi Martinez
My choice is arguably the most underrated Bayern player of all time, Javi Martinez. Never one for glory in the press, he silently did all the gritty, demanding work in the center of the park and was one of the major factors that contributed to the treble in 2013. Always reliable whenever called upon, he’s currently accepted a bench role without throwing a fuss, being the best player in Bayern’s home draw vs Liverpool last season. He’s a Bayern legend through and through, and a very underrated one at that. Hopefully he gets the send of he deserves when he hangs his boots.
Who is Bayern’s most underrated player?
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