Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer arrived in Bavaria with a stellar reputation, an impressive resume, and the expectation that he was going to fill a key void on the roster.
To date, Sabitzer has appeared — on the surface — to have had at least a little trouble acclimating to his new surroundings and his new role. Until Leon Goretzka’s recent illness, Sabitzer found himself dealing with being a little-used reserve.
With more opportunity to show his skill, Sabitzer has looked...good, but still not 100% comfortable on the pitch. For those unfamiliar with Sabitzer’s game, things might seem normal, but the midfielder seems to be a little hesitant and often defers to his new teammates.
Certainly, that was to be expected as the Austrian moved to what might be the best team on Earth. Still, if Bayern Munich is going to reach its collective potential, it will need Sabitzer to ramp up his transition phase and look like a seamless cog in the Bavarian machine sooner rather than later.
Part of this sometimes clunky rollout for Sabitzer has been the acceptance that he went from “that man” to “just one of the guys.” No matter what he says, Sabitzer has undoubtedly had trouble keeping his normally excellent form, while becoming a bench player at Bayern Munich. It is not a move that every player can make, especially during the prime of the player’s career.
Sabitzer, though, will need to find a way to battle through that mental block.
Joshua Kimmich is racking up the mileage, plus the recent news regarding his vaccination status could put him more at risk of a prolonged illness should he — knock on wood — contract the virus.
Leon Goretzka, for as good as he is, is prone to muscle injuries and knocks. Goretzka has missed 34 games for the club since transferring to Bayern Munich for the 2018/2019 season.
Corentin Tolisso, while talented, is also injury prone, inconsistent, and has one foot out the door with his contract expiring in June.
Marc Roca? Michael Cuisance? How do you say it in German...Keine Bayern-Qualität?
Against Hoffenheim, Sabitzer was a little more assertive and involved than his previous appearance. The Austrian played 76 minutes, had 68 touches, completed 85% of his passes, had one tackle, won three of six ground duels, and lost possession 10 times. All-in-all, it was a solid effort.
Regardless, Sabitzer’s role within the squad will become increasingly more important. There is little doubt that he will get to where he needs to be, but how long it takes to get there — given what could be spotty playing time — could be an issue.