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Did losing Thiago Alcantara cause Bayern Munich’s defense to falter?

The Spaniard always had a key role in Bavaria, but was he the key to the squad?

Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool Fc looks on during the Uefa... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

When Thiago Alcantara decided to make the move to Liverpool, many Bayern Munich fans lamented the loss of such a talented player.

While Thiago has battled through his fair share of injuries with Liverpool, the Spaniard has provided much-needed stability to the Premier League side.

Liverpool.com recently examined that impact and note where you could see Bayern Munich feel the loss of the midfielder the most:

While the Bavarian giants are still one of the best sides in Europe, they have looked more vulnerable since the departure of Thiago in the summer of 2020. This has been reflected in the number of goals Bayern have conceded in the Bundesliga since his departure.

In his final three seasons in Germany, the perennial German champions never conceded more than 32 goals with Thiago at the club. In the season after he swapped Bavaria for Merseyside, Bayern shipped in 44. This season they’ve already conceded 25, and Manuel Neuer has only kept seven clean sheets in the league.

And yes, the point could be made that Thiago isn’t a defender, and Bayern’s defensive fragility could be down to new signings still finding their feet and a lack of senior, experienced defenders in the squad after the departures of Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng last summer, but Thiago is one of the best in the world at keeping possession of the ball and knitting a midfield together.

While it is true that Thiago’s transfer was a big loss in talent, ball distribution, and midfield structure, there are numerous other reasons that Bayern Munich has not been as solid defensively.

Whether it is injuries, the sometimes suicidal high-line under Hansi Flick, the constant shifting of tactics and alignments under Julian Nagelsmann, the loss of Jerome Boateng, the integration of Dayot Upamecano, or about a half dozen of other factors, it can be said that losing Thiago did not help the situation, but it is also not the only reason Bayern Munich’s defense has been inconsistent over the past two seasons.

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