And then there were six.
Bayern Munich entered the season a touch light on defenders, with seven — not including out-of-favor (and injured) right-back Bouna Sarr — for four spots and no bench left-back. Now, thanks to Lucas Hernández’s injury while on France duty at the Men’s World Cup, Bayern are down to something like the following:
- LB: Alphonso Davies, Josip Stanišić
- CB: Matthijs de Ligt
- CB: Dayot Upamecano, Benjamin Pavard
- RB: Noussair Mazraoui
Worried? Don’t be! Benjamin Pavard and Josip Stanišić can cover an extra position each.
Sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžic sees it the same way. As he explained in an interview for Sport Bild (via @iMiaSanMia), it's the sheer quality at the top that Bayern will now lean on.
“We’re well-equipped in defense with Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano & Lucas Hernández, three top players,” Brazzo said. “We also have Josip Stanišic, who has to make appearances. Therefore, no signing of another centre-back is planned.”
That means any rumors of Bayern interest in the Bundesliga’s current hot topic after his revelatory World Cup performances, RB Leipzig’s Joško Gvardiol, can be put on the skates.
Strictly speaking, that doesn’t rule out a move for a full-back — a left-back backup may help immediately by allowing Pavard and Stanišić to focus on CB/RB, where they’re both more comfortable. A right-back may see Pavard move to center-back permanently and protect against a summer transfer window departure for the Frenchman.
But both moves would cost, and it’s not clear who might be available in January — and who among them would have the confidence of Bayern’s scouts and coaches. Barring a surprise, this is the defensive crew Bayern will take into the Rückrunde and the remainder of their Champions League campaign. Stay healthy, gents!