When Bayern Munich acquired Marcel Sabitzer, it was assumed by many that the former RB Leipzig man would be able to seamlessly fill in behind Thomas Müller, Leon Goretzka, or Joshua Kimmich.
More, Sabizter could also play a role at wing if needed.
Things were looking extremely good for the squad’s depth. Fast forward two months, though, and it is tough to decipher what the plan (if any) is for Sabitzer.
With Goretzka hobble after a midweek match, it was assumed that Sabitzer would slot into the Germany international’s starting role. Instead, Bayern Munich opted to start Corentin Tolisso — a player with one foot out the door and steamrolling toward free agency this summer.
This begs the question…what gives?
Is Sabitzer hurt? Is he sick? Is he still struggling to his new surroundings? Is he a programmatic non-fit (Minnesota Vikings fans might remember that gem) for Bayern Munich’s 4-2-3-1 formation?
If the Austrian cannot garner a start in a game where Goretzka is unavailable, why get him at all?
Tolisso’s start was non-impactful at best, but poor at worst. Tolisso is, indeed, a fine player, but his time in Bavaria has gotten stale. Often injured and sometimes inconsistent, Tolisso just has not gotten on track.
Playing him — a midfielder widely assumed to already be looking at his next stop — over Sabitzer is puzzling.
When Sabitzer entered the match, he would play 21 minutes, complete all nine of his passes, intercept one pass, and win one of two ground duels. As for Tolisso, the Frenchman played 69 minutes, completed 29 of his 35 passes, had two interceptions, won one of three ground duels, and had one tackle. Deeper than statistics go, though, Tolisso just did not do enough. Unable to impact the offense, Tolisso was indifferent about his defensive responsibilities. Against a better opponent, that could have been a major issue.
So far, Sabitzer has played 11 matches for Bayern Munich, had two starts, and amassed 349 minutes of field time. On the surface that might seem...okay? But the reality is that Müller is getting a little older and Goretzka is becoming a bit brittle.
It should also be noted that Kimmich is like an HVAC person’s worst nightmare: Operating on a run-to-fail basis with minimal routine maintenance involved. At some point, someone just have to save that guy from himself and Sabitzer was seemingly brought in to help fill the void for the moments when the Bayern Munich coaching staff needs to give Kimmich a break.
If ever a team needed a starting caliber midfielder to chip in, it is Bayern Munich.
Granted, what we have seen of Sabitzer so far has not been overly…impactful, but the only way to get him up-to-speed is to see him out with the starting XI. Chucking him garbage time minutes is not exactly going to help determine if he is a non-fit or just needs more time to fit in.
Let’s hope the rotation settles in shortly before anyone starts to succumb to wear-and-tear injuries.