Bayern Munich always has one eye on the future. But for the first time in a long time, the club could have some youngsters with a serious chance to break through to the first team.
What is fascinating about this group of kids is not only that they are talented and not only do they almost have the ability to flex to several positions, but they could conceivably be entering the squad just in time for some of the older talents to start easing their way out.
Paul Wanner is an attacking midfielder by trade, but has also played both wing positions and a deep role as an 8 (though not often). Gabriel Vidovic is also in the mold of an attacking midfielder/second striker type with an offensive edge to his game. Nemanja Motika is a winger who has been an enigma this season, while Arijon Ibrahimovic has show the capability to flex between both wing positions and attacking midfield.
Maybe more than other recent top prospects, this group is following the path set by Josip Stanisic, who has played in several roles since formally being called to the first team. Versatility might have been Stanisic’s primary selling point and now Bayern Munich has a “next generation” of players all able to flex and move where needed.
These young boys, however, do not have an easy road to playing time. The wing position alone represents one of the most talented groups in all of Europe. Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, and Jamal Musiala are all signed to long-term deals, while Serge Gnabry is expected to follow suit.
Attackers like Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski are not exactly easing their way into a retirement village anytime soon, either. Still, it is conceivable that one or two of these players could be a full-time part of the game day roster at Bayern Munich during this Rückrunde and perhaps two or three total could be fixtures in the quad by this time next season.
There are, however, two key questions:
1 — Will Bayern Munich “roster over” these kids in the transfer market (something we the club do to other strong prospects like Angelo Stiller and Niklas Dorsch)?
2 — Who from the quartet above will stick around?
We have seen that Bayern Munich will strongly consider first-team roles for Vidovic and Wanner within weeks or months rather than years, while at 16-years-old, Ibrahimovic, still could use some seasoning in the academy and make the move to Bayern Munich II.
Motika seems to be the player who could force the issue. With 18 goals and nine assists through 26 games across all competitions this season, Motika has been an incredible offensive threat.
Whatever happens with these four players — and the rest of the ever-growing herd of prospects on Säbener Straße — one thing is certain: Bayern Munich looks to be back and invested in developing talent and not just relying on the transfer market for its future squad building.
ICYMI: Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 1, Episode 33
After a shocking loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich will be looking to rebound against FC Köln.
While much of the focus has been on how the Bavarians will perform this weekend, the club had a pretty big week in the board room and in the newspapers.
Not only did Bayern Munich lock up Kingsley Coman through 2027, but we saw a lot of other information drop on other players. This is what we have on tap:
- Coman’s new deal, what it means for Bayern Munich, the formation, and the other wingers on the roster.
- Niklas Süle’s unfortunate status and why Nico Schlotterbeck is the preferred option should Süle bolt.
- Where things stand with Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, and Robert Lewandowski.
- The interesting news that Bayern Munich has made contact with Mino Raiola over Erling Haaland.
- The shame of me not watching the Bayern Munich documentary as of yet and why I need to get on Cobra Kai and The Book of Boba Fett ASAP.
It’s time for Roca to move on
Marc Roca’s career with Bayern Munich has been filled with a lot of time on the bench.
Like...a whole lot.
While he clearly has talent, there just seems to be a consistent rhythm missing on the pitch for him. The Spaniard turned in a couple of solid performance to close down 2021 and left fans grasping for hope that the defensive midfielder might finally break through and get some consistent minutes.
Alas, against Borussia Mönchengladbach we saw Roca look more like the 2020/2021 version we had heard about from training (lacks speed, lacks agility, struggles with mobility inmoving side-to-side) than the one who looked so confident in closing out the 2021 calendar year.
This has nothing to do with Roca’s lack of talent — he will likely be a good, starting player for some club soon. For his own career, though, he is going to have to find a better situation for his development.
At Bayern Munich — whether it has been under Hansi Flick or Julian Nagelsmann — the double pivot has needed to have a symbiotic relationship. At any given point either Joshua Kimmich or Leon Goretzka (and sometimes both!) are charging hard and moving forward. Roca, meanwhile, prefers a deeper position where he can rely on defensive strengths and utilize his passing vision.
By all accounts, Roca has invested into living in Germany and has show an extremely strong work ethic. Moreover, he has proven to a good-natured guy, who is a professional in every sense.
How Bayern Munich’s midfielders play just does not fit what Roca’s strengths are at this point, though. There is no harm in a youngster recognizing this and wanting to move on, but whether it happens or not remains to be seen. For continuity’s sake, we’ll likely see the club try to keep him around, but at 25-years-old, Roca needs to start thinking about how to advance his career and how to best remove himself from the Goretzka and Kimmich-sized roadblock ahead of him at Bayern Munich.
Song of the Week: “Falling to Pieces” by Faith No More
Known more for their mega-hit “Epic”, Faith No More was an established band before their album “The Real Thing” became a smash hit.
“Epic” was released in January of 1990 and struck a chord with many rock fans looking for something falling between the every transitioning scene that was moving from hair bands to Heavy Metal and a burgeoning Alt-rock scene that was considered a bit too soft for some at the time. This was just before Grunge would explode and dominate for a stretch.
“Epic” had brought Faith No More attention and “Falling to Pieces’ was a good follow-up in July of 1990 to that. “Falling to Pieces” also received a ton of time in the rotation on MTV (which was oh so important to how bands were received back in the day).
The band has kept going in one form or another is still around. Unfortunately, Faith No More had to cancel a tour for the early part of this year, which surely disappointed their loyal fan base.
Anyway, here you go:
Ah, hell, for good measure, here is “Epic” as well:
ICYMI: Bavarian Podcast Works: Preview Show — Bayern Munich vs. FC Köln
When looking at Bundesliga managers, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone doing a better job than FC Köln’s Steffen Baumgart.
Of course, Bayern Munich’s Julian Nagelsmann and SC Freiburg’s Christian Streich have also done pretty well, but with the Billy Goats sitting in sixth place, it is hard to think many other coaches could take that FC Köln roster and take it to these heights.
With the Billy Goats an absolutely worthy opponent, Bayern Munich absolutely need to being its “A” game — and not the same lifeless effort it had against Gladbach. Here is what we have on tap:
- A look at where each team sits in the table.
- Why FC Köln is dangerous.
- The players we’ve seen identified as possible starters for Bayern Munich.
- What the Bavarians need to show even with a lineup that once again will not be operating at 100%.
- A prediction on the match.
Bayern Munich should not have lost to Gladbach last weekend — compromised roster be damned. It was a lost opportunity for the Bavarians, who looked “off” and faded badly over the game’s final 70 minutes.
Those 70 minutes were pretty damn painful to be honest.
Now, however, there is a chance for a fresh start and while the Billy Goats are no slouch, the Bavarians are likely going to be primed and ready to get back on the winning track.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 FC Köln
Other Bundesliga predictions include:
- Borussia Dortmund 3-2 SC Freiburg
- Mainz 05 3-1 VfL Bochum
- VfB Stuttgart 1-2 RB Leipzig
- Union Berlin 2-2 Hoffenheim
- Wolfsburg 2-1 Hertha Berlin
- Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
- FC Augsburg 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
- Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 SpVgg Greuther Fürth
Last Bundesliga Match Day record: 3-6
Overall Bundesliga record: 83-78
DFB-Pokal record: 1-1
DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
Champions League record: 6-0
Overall record: 91-79
Guest prognosticator record: 0-1 (Cowards — including you Twitter folks)