Pep Guardiola’s second season at Bayern Munich saw the team settle into the 4-1-4-1 proper, and Guardiola sporting director Matthias Sammer brought in yet more personnel that fit the bill of the system.
Let’s look at Bayern’s business this window.
- Medhi Benatia from AS Roma for €28m
- Juan Bernat from Valencia for €10m
- Xabi Alonso from Bayern Munich for €9m
- Pepe Reina from Liverpool for €3m
- Sinan Kurt from Borussia Mönchengladbach for €400k
- Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund for free
- Sebastian Rode from Eintracht Frankfurt for free
- Toni Kroos from Real Madrid for €25m
- Mario Mandžukić to Atlético Madrid for €22m
- Diego Contento to Girondins Bordeaux for €1m
- Alessandro Schöpf to FC Nurnberg for €400k
- Julian Green to Hamburger SV on a one season loan
- Pierre-Emile Højbjerg to FC Augsburg on a six month loan (winter transfer)
- Xherdan Shaqiri to Internazionale on a six month loan (winter transfer)
- Daniel Van Buyten retires.
- Gianluca Gaudino given a professional contract.
Leiterkletterer: Gianluca Gaudino
No offense to Gianluca Gaudino... but yeah. The class of 2014 really wasn’t anything special.
Now 25 and employing his trade in the Swiss second division, Gaudino was touted for massive things by Pep and Sammer. Unfortunately he could never really put the pieces together and would fall to irrelevancy. After an insignificant few seasons Gaudino would leave the club on loan in 2017 to Chievo Verona and eventually that move would be made permanent, but Gaudino would be sacked from the Italian outfit before hopping between lower division Swiss and German clubs.
Not the career we envisioned for him back in 2014.
Überschuss: Mario Mandžukić
Mario Mandžukić is one of the finest strikers to play for Bayern. His ability to link play together across the front four was unparalleled, but Pep needed a different kind of player. With the arrival of a certain Pole, Mandžukić’s role was bound to be diminished, and he knew it himself. The Croatian and Bayern came to an amicable end, with Mandžukić leaving for Spanish outfit Atlético Madrid.
Mandžukić did well in Spain before leaving for Juventus in 2015, where he could have won the Champions League in 2017 but would fall short at the last hurdle to Real Madrid, and then lost to France in the 2018 World Cup final, coming agonisingly close to winning football’s two top prizes within two years. After an individually great five years which included shifting to the left side of attack after the arrival of one Cristiano Ronaldo, Mandžukić would leave for Qatari outfit Al-Duhail where he effectively went on a career break, returning only for a six month stint at AC Milan before retiring from football. A legend of the game.
Sehr Vermisst: Toni Kroos
This one still hurts.
Toni Kroos will go down as one of the best midfielders of all time. Part of an iconic midfield trio alongside Luka Modrić and Casemiro, Kroos started out as a 10 in Munich before being pulled back to an advanced 8 role during Bayern’s treble-winning 2012/13 season. His last season in Munich saw him perform to a world class degree, but Kroos felt his prospects in Munich had faded after an unfruitful contract discussion, choosing instead to request a transfer, which Bayern obliged for the paltry sum of €25m to Real Madrid. Four more Champions League later, Kroos is inarguably top 3 German midfielders of all time, and while I don’t think he holds a candle to Lothar Matthäus for the top spot, there are certain individuals who would argue for it (including Matthäus himself apparently).
Reue des Käufers: Medhi Benatia
I don’t think any of Bayern’s transfers this summer were ‘bad’, but I think Medhi Benatia was the one we got the least value out of.
Benatia came to Bayern for a hefty €28m fee after an elite season at AS Roma, but failed to really re-capture that form, although he was still pretty good as a more limited centre back. Pep didn’t really like his play style though, and after just two seasons in Munich he would be shipped off to Juventus for a total fee of €19.7m. Benatia would do well in Juventus and I think that especially under coaches such as Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovač, Benatia could have showcased his abilities to a very high level.
Neue Legende: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is one of the greatest players to ever play football. He is the very reason I began supporting Bayern Munich back in 2014. He has been my favourite player for the better part of a decade. His journey from 2012 to 2021 was so thematically perfect, I would not have traded it even for a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner who was touted as one of the world’s best from the age of 21. There was nothing more satisfying than watching a player discarded and labelled as cursed ripping through all of Europe on his way to a record-shattering sextuple.
Two-time Germany Footballer of the Year.
Two-time European Golden Shoe winner.
Two-time The Best FIFA Men’s Player.
2020 UEFA Player of the Year.
2020 Ballon d’Or winner.
In my opinion the best player to ever wear the number nine jersey.
..and Bayern got him for completely free. FREE. ZERO EUROS.
The greatest value for money in the history of football transfers.
What do you think of our picks? Do you disagree with any of them? Let us know in the forum below.